Tag Archives: Scale

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

  1. This books dives into the power of networks and how the interconnectedness of everything changes everything. The seventh sense lies in harnessing and understanding the power of networks. The seventh sense is the ability to look at any object and see how it is changed by connection. Connection changes the nature of an object
Key Takeaways
  1. The sixth sense was Nietzsche’s idea of people having to get a sense for the rhythm of history in order to deal with the then nascent industrial revolution. The seventh sense allows us to change our habits in order to deal with our new networked world where we are constantly connected. Any system which is not designed around or to work with constant connection will have to be re-thought and re-designed or else they will crack in today’s new paradigm
  2. In a world where the map is constantly changing due to the power networks have to effect change, one has to rely on their instincts or seventh sense in order to survive and thrive. Mastery of the seventh sense will give people an ability to instantly feel and react to the changing power of networks
  3. Understanding always takes a long time, contemplation, stillness and deep conversations with others in order to penetrate and embody the truth.
  4. Networks grow as they gain nodes which connect across areas, mediums and geography. Networks grow powerful as they expand and depends on the type and relationship and speed of the nodes. Helpful metaphor for world of punctuated equilibrium is when molecules of water molecules link up and suddenly turns to ice when the temperature drops low enough. A powerful network can develop and disrupt that quickly
  5. Protocols allow you to design the organization and processes of a system and therefore the design of the protocol gives you almost total control of the system. Awesome example where he says that learning Chinese fluently is not what will be important in the future but creating the translation protocol will be because this controls the system and makes one specific language less important
  6. The physical world is shaped and influenced by the design of the digital world
  7. America is different than previous superpowers in the sense that she is willing to change and disrupt what makes her so dominant today
  8. So much of what is brilliant and revolutionary at first is seen as crazy, comical and/or stupid
  9. Greatest threat to America dominance is not China, Russia, or anyone else but the evolution of networks and the power they bring
  10. The victors of the future will be those who master networks
  11. What marks successful network thinkers is that they see structures with in the network and how power and influence might move through them
  12. That work create centralization and distribution. Network notes are distributed all over the world but power accrued and centralizes along the most powerful company. Distribution and concentration are the essence of power now. As more devices and those connect to the network the more powerful the core have to become
  13. The “platform used to matter but now it is Proto call  indicate how powerful pipeline in the design a system have become
  14. Leaders are struggling today because of the tension between centralization and distribution. This may be in paradoxical but much light in and day they coexist and need to other in order to exist exist
  15. System and networks are complex adaptive systems where unexpected behaviors and pattern emerge.
  16. Once an object connect to a system turns from complicated to complex. Industrial revolution made a simple complicated and network revolution made the complicated complex
  17. Robust principal – conservative in what you do and liberal in what you accept
  18. Conductivity brings with it multiple downside such as owner ability to have to wear your machine can be taken over and commanded what to do. All of the worlds most relied upon system and from the political to financials are vulnerable to sources that are hard to stop and even harder to see. Most of the biggest decision that will affect our lives will from now on be done and implemented in secret
  19. New cast of it being for who truly understands how to make computers that work at systems say and how they should be designed. Betty ourselves cause but I’ll have the MC of the seven cents
  20. Seventh son does not want a level of acidity towards these new network but rather an understanding of its nature in order to further what we really care about
  21. At work are fundamentally interwoven with time and often try heated up or manipulated in other ways
  22. How we perceive is greatly influenced by in which we experience for example climbing a hill on foot versus in a car are almost totally different experience
  23. In the end that works for Bill to get around time by there nearly instantaneous function. As it up space becomes compress as you can travel the same distance and last time. Bass is a competitive advantage to be faster is the sizes for the future lies those who are the fastest
  24. Old world in terms of distance where as the new cast thing in terms of how fast you can traverses. Geography versus whole policy. Today how far away something is truly determined by the speed and quality of the connection and not by distance
  25. The true power of network lies in trust ties and not in cables or fiber
  26. Influence will accrue to those who are better able to compress time as there seems to be on unlimited desire for speed
  27. Today there is no more powerful position that to a network which is desirable for others. Figuring out where our who is our will help you figure out what steps to take and whether to build your own pasta or do something new
  28. Networks allow for a relatively new phenomenon which turns diminishing returns into increasing returns. Network effects are the strongest type of increasing return and changes how we think about and operate businesses. These businesses are power law distributed as they breed commanding winners – winner take all. Networks optimize themselves to be faster and more efficient the bigger they get and the more people who use them. Winner takes all because we all benefit
  29. A network and connected world wants the fastest solution to everything from social media to videos to online payment
  30. When the Chinese want to do something they asked what is the nature of the age as the context matters as much as the solution but I Americans simply begin with a goal. The author posit that today’s nature is one of collapse of old industry and giant and construction of new one
  31. That works give us a glimpse into where power is and will be in the strategies one should employ based on this
  32. The fundamental question of power in today’s age is whether you or your country or company are the gatekeeper or gatekept. The nature of today is that everything is or will be connected and as we’ve learned, this changes the nature of the object connected. This process of linking everything is unstoppable
  33. An increasingly powerful tool will be the ability to cut and keep people out of these important gatelands
  34. Disappearing AI if the concept that AI is getting so powerful. So much data entry so many connections that how it got to a dancer is becoming increasingly impossible for humans to figure out this has in Norman and location for our future and is exciting and scary
  1. Fascinating book on the power of networks and how the ability to see how the nature of things change once they are connected is where future power, innovation, influence and wealth lies.

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies and Companies by Geoffrey West

  1. There are some simple, universal laws which link all complex systems and this book explores these various scaling laws and systems to provide a predictive framework
Key Takeaways
  1. We live in an exponentially expanding socio-economic urbanized worked. A key topic of this book is the key role that cities and urbanization play in the future of the world. Cities are the crucible of civilization and humans depend on their continuity for innovation, commerce and as magnets for creativity and growth. However, they also attract crime, resources and cause much pollution and health problems. The author will explore if there can be a science of cities and companies to predict their longevity and provide a framework and strategy for achieving long term sustainability. Mega cities will take on scales never before seen as the trend is for increasing urbanization with up to 75% of the world population living in cities by 2050
  2. The open ended exponential growth of cities is in marked contrast to what is seen in biology and in corporations. To what extent are cities extensions of biology and if they are in fact a type of super organism why do most of them never die? The author will explore whether a serious mechanistic theory can explain our own mortality and that of companies and why cities seem immune
    1. Too short of a time frame to tell? 5-10,000 is a lot but on geological scales it is not at all
  3. Energy, metabolism and entropy. Will refer to all types of biological energy transformation as metabolism which are used towards physical work as well as for refueling, growth, reproduction and maintenance. The vast majority of human energy has been put towards forming collectives such as cities and companies as well as to the discovery and implementation of ideas. However, without a steady supply of energy none of this growth or innovation is possible. Energy is primary to everything we do and everything that happens around us and is often underapprecaited by scientists and researchers in most fields. As there is no free lunch regarding energy, every action and energy usage has a consequence in the form of useless energy in the form of heat or disorder, otherwise known as entropy. Entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, always increases and hangs over everyone and everything. Growth stops because of the mismatch between energy demand and supply. However, things which grow super linearly, like cities, get more energy supplied than is demanded as they grow so as they get bigger they also grow faster. For companies, sales or revenues can be thought of as growth and expenses and maintenance. The fewer expenses the more energy is available for growth. Younger company’s profits scale faster than expenses but on average these scale linearly as companies grow (similar to the progress of most organisms). Companies tend to grow, scale, mature and die in similar fashions regardless of industry which indicates universal dynamics may be at play
  4. Scaling and non linear behavior. Scaling is how things change with size and the fundamental rules and behaviors they obey. This helps establish a framework to connect how various systems, organisms and more behave as they change size. Scaling helps understand tipping points, chaotic systems and phase transitions. Scaling will play an increasingly larger role as man made systems continue to increase in size and complexity and underlying principles are typically not well understood as they tend to becomplex adaptive systems. Linear extrapolation to growth and scaling is dangerous as it is often implicit as it is often wrong. Metabolic needs, parents, innovation and much more scales non-linearly or enjoys increasing returns to scale – LA’s GDP per capita is greater than expected when compared to Oklahoma City’s GDP per capita.  Economies of scale – as a city, organism, etc gets larger it in fact gets more efficient. An organism twice as large only requires 75% more energy rather than 100% as linear thinking would suggest. This 3/4 metabolic scaling law applies across nearly every taxonomy. The number 4 therefore plays a nearly universal law in biological life. Elephants, though having 10,000 more cells to support than rats, only need 1,000 more energy. This amazing efficiency allows for longer longevity
  5. Emergence, self organization and resilience. Complex systems are made up of a multitude of small components which lead to unexpected results where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, emergence. Humans are more than the totality of their cells. There is no central control by these individual components but amazing things can emerge through this self-organization. These complex adaptive systems are able to adapt and evolve to changing external conditions leading to a resilient system. However, these systems are also influenced by both positive and negative feedback loops which can quickly alter the system
  6. You are your networks. Growth can be considered a special case of scaling. Networks the determine the rates at which energy and resources are delivered to cells, they set the pace of all physiological processes. Pace of life slows as the network expands which is why bigger animals live longer, take longer to mature, have slower heart rates and are more metabolically efficient
  7. Cities tend to scale at a 1.15 scaling law as it doubles. So, a city twice as bi has 15% more innovation, wages, crime, disease, etc. than a linear doubling would suggest. This appears across countries and across time showing there may be a universal, generic scaling law we can apply to cities. Pace of life in bugger cities scaled as well and people’s pace of walking even does too. This scaling also indicates that pace of innovation and wealth creation must keep speeding up as well. This must break at some point however so growth may hold the seeds of its own destruction – dialectical materialism
  8. Companies are much more like organisms than cities in that they scale sub linearly (0.85), they get more efficient and slower as they get bigger, rather than faster like cities (1.15 scaling). Companies, like organisms, also stop growing at some point, slow down and eventually decay as changing and growing becomes more difficult the larger one is, they become more unidimensional whereas cities get multidimensional as they grow
  9. Understanding that area and volume scale at different proportions is helpful when thinking about scaling up houses, organisms, etc. If the size of an elephant doubles, the weight of the elephant grows in proportion to the volume (which cubes if the animal is doubled) whereas the strength would only double. That is why ants the size of elephants or Godzilla could exist if they were made of the same materials. There are limits to size and growth as the relative strength decreases as size increases. There is a nonlinear growth scale between strength and weight (2:3)
  10. A key assumption of scaling is that the physical and chemical compositions remain the same. However, innovation often allows for growth at a larger scale due to stronger materials, like steel instead of wood, or improved design such as the use of arches or vaults
  11. Brunell – one of the greatest engineers of the 19th century and a true polymath. He innovated with tunnels, railways, shipbuilding (larger ships require proportionately less fuel per ton than smaller ships, economies of scale), bridges and more
  12. The Navier-Stokes equation describes turbulence and was very influential in shipbuilding and was one of the first studies of complexity
  13. Metabolic rate is the fundamental rate for all of biology, setting the pace of everything life does. Metabolism may be the most pervasive and consistent law in the universe, applying to some orders of magnitude of mass, from bacteria to blue whales
  14. The Magic #4 – a huge range of scaling laws across life (metabolism, heart rate, size of aorta, tree trunk) scale in simple quarters suggesting that evolution has been constrained by other general principles beyond natural selection. This may be a clue to universal biological principles which could help us better predict and analyze life. Networks may be the constraint which leads to quarter scaling as the physical makeup of the network may be different but they would be constrained by the same mathematical and physical principles. Power law scaling is the mathematical expression of self similarity and fractality. We are thus all living examples of self similarity and fractals. My understanding is that this quarter scaling is indicative of our 4D universe (the fourth being fractality or self-similarity which takes advantage of volume filling traits) and contrary to the 11D string theorists currently believe we live in. Few human inventions take advantage of the optimization fractals confer but organic processes like organisms and cities do.
  15. Humans require approximately 90w of energy to live
  16. What is irrelevant at one scale becomes dominant at another. What is important at every scale is to find the variables which dominate the behavior of the system. See Game Play video with Alan Watts narration which Kevin Rose pointed out which discusses perspective and scale
  17. Optimization principles lie at the very heart of all of the fundamental laws of nature as all aim to minimize the amount of action or energy required. Thus, though the networks are physically different, animals and plants scale similarly to minimize the amount of energy needed for energy to reach the terminal destination (capillaries). Can say the blood changes from AC (pulsatile) to DC (steady stream) as it moves to the capillaries. This saves energy and ensures the blood is moving slow enough for oxygen to dissipate
  18. Impedence matching is when there is clear and accurate communication, saving energy
  19. Although organisms take advantage of optimization from self similarity, the physical bounds of the networks limits the size, age, scope, etc of physical organisms. Weight would crush the animal as volume scales faster than area, oxygen would not be able to diffuse into cells once animal reaches a certain size. Organisms also stop growing due to the different ways energy need and metabolism scale. The rate at which energy is needed for maintenance scales faster than the rate at which metabolic energy can be supplied, forcing the amount of energy for growth to systematically decrease, resulting in the cessation of growth at some point. So, the less energy needed for maintenance (fixed costs), the more is available for growth.
  20. Life is so sensitive to temperature because chemical reactions such as metabolic rate scale exponentially in respect to temperature. For example, a 2°C rise in temperature would lead to a 20-30% rise in pace of life (and hence mortality)
  21. The author believes that caloric restriction can increase lifespan as anything which slows down the metabolism will lead to less damaged cells in a similar period of time, thereby increasing life span. However, we are complex adaptive systems and simply altering one variable will have unseen consequences
  22. Amazingly, the universe is expanding exponentially and on earth, we are expanding exponentially socioeconomically
  23. Traditionally, population growth has correlated closely with increases in financial indices
  24. The city is our ingenious invention to increase collaboration and social cohesion and interaction. Two key components of innovation and wealth creation. Their downside include crime, pollution and huge consumption or resources. Cities are an emergent self-organizing phenomenon helping increase productivity, social collaboration and innovation no matter where in the world the city is
  25. Dunbar’s Number is a nested group in that your most intimate friends number around 5, second tier is about 15, then 50 and 150 and so on in multiples of three. This can be used to form optimally sized groups, councils, etc. The author speculates that cities are physical manifestations of our brain as their function and basic layout are universal and symbolic of how humans act and interact which is encoded in our neural networks
  26. Zipf’s Law is used to describe the size and frequency distribution of a huge array of areas. It says that the second largest or more st frequent will be about half as large or frequent as the first, the third about 1/3, fourth about 1/4, etc. Another way of stating Pareto’s 80/20 Law
  27. People, regardless of city or occupation, spend about 1 hour per day commuting. All technology has done has allowed people to live farther away as they can now travel faster
  28. Social interactions underlie the universal scaling of urban characteristics
  29. Cities which are rich, safe, innovative and generally overperforming, tend to keep doing so and similar for cities which underperform
  30. Different types of businesses and professions also scale proportionately as cities grow, some super and some sub-linearly
  31. To sustain open ended growth in light of resource limitation requires continuous cycles of paradigm shifting innovations which over time must occur at shorter and shorter intervals
What I got out of it it
  1. A lot of excellent examples of scale and new examples of how it permeates our everyday lives