Quote for the day

This quote comes from page 6 of Frederick Taylor’s 1911 book, The Principles of Scientific Management

What we are all looking for, however, is the ready-made competent man; the man whom some one else has trained. it is only when we fully realize that our duty, as well as our opportunity, lies in systematically cooperating to train and to make this competent man, instead of in hunting for a man whom someone else has trained, that we shall be on the road to national efficiency.

It can be extremely difficult to find the perfect employee. As an organization, we must be willing to take someone with the potential and train them CORRECTLY to become that competent employee. We as managers and leaders owe it to our staffs and our organizations to take this great responsibility to train employees to become more competent, and as a result, they will increase in value to the organization.


Gender pay inequality?

Good OpEd by Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs in the WSJ on The ’77 Cents on the Dollar’ Myth About Women’s Pay, Once education, marital status and occupations are considered, the ‘gender wage gap’ all but disappears.

A highlight:

While the BLS reports that full-time female workers earned 81% of full-time males, that is very different than saying that women earned 81% of what men earned for doing the same jobs, while working the same hours, with the same level of risk, with the same educational background and the same years of continuous, uninterrupted work experience, and assuming no gender differences in family roles like child care. In a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously—such as that from economists June and Dave O’Neill for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination. The O’Neills conclude that, “labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% but may not be present at all.”

These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don’t ignore the opportunity because it doesn’t exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.

Administration officials are (very) occasionally challenged on their discrimination claims. The reply is that even if lower average female pay is a result of women’s choices, those choices are themselves driven by discrimination. Yet the choice of college major is quite free, and many colleges recruit women into high-paying science or math majors. Likewise, many women prefer to stay home with their children. If doing so allows their husbands to maximize their own earnings, it’s not clear that the families are worse off. It makes no sense to sue employers for choices made by women years or decades earlier.

Is there discrimination in the world, yes. Is it as common as politicians want you to believe, I doubt it. I believe politicians hyper inflate the actual amount of discrimination to go on a crusade to change the world. Let the market work. If a place wants to discriminate, let the market punish them, not the government. Compared to the population of the U.S., only a fraction of the people and ideas lie within the political machine. Don’t limit the ideas to change the world for the better to politicians, allow the common woman and man, i.e. the market, to make the world better.

Video: Best prank ever? Student sets phone call trap for teacher

This is great. A good example of unintended consequences. Fortunately for us, a hilarious consequence.


With more than one million views on YouTube in just a day, this may be the best April Fools’ Day prank of all time.

A college professor who has a policy requiring students to answer ringing cellphones in class on speakerphone gets much, much more than he bargained for when a student takes a call. The look on his face at the big reveal is priceless.

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Another example of the baptists and bootleggers theory

Mark Perry posted this map on his blog Carpe Diem yesterday. It reminds me of Bruce Yandle’s theory of Baptists and Bootleggers. In his latest paper, Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect, he states,

“Here is the essence of the theory: durable social regulation evolves when it is demanded by both of two distinctly different groups. “Baptists” point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits promised by a desired regulation. Baptists flourish when their moral message forms a visible foundation for political action. “Bootleggers” are much less visible
but no less vital. Bootleggers, who expect to profit from the very regulatory restrictions desired by Baptists, grease the political machinery with some of their expected proceeds. They are simply in it for the money.” And, “Perhaps we should we expect no less. Political action, which by definition always serves some interest groups, requires politicians to appeal to popular icons. By making a “Baptist” appeal, the canny politician enables voters to feel better by endorsing socially accepted values in the voting booth. The same politician, if he is adroit, also can enjoy the support of appreciative bootleggers in the costly struggle to hold office. Bootleggers and Baptists are part of the glue that binds the body politic.”

Politicians want to appear tough on crime so they make a moral argument about putting drug offenders behind bars. Who is really benefiting here? Is it society or the prison industry? I wrote a blog post about America’s Prison Problem? that links to an article about America’s incarceration rate. It is absolutely astounding.

In February, the bureau of prisons released data on the number of incarcerated individuals by offense. Here is the graph.
in prison crimes 1

Here is the legend.
in prison crimes 2

Makes you wonder how much impact the war on drugs has had.


I learned how to play KenKen this week. The rules are fairly straightforward,

1.The numbers you can use in a puzzle depend on the size of the grid. If it’s a 3 x 3 grid, you’ll use the numbers 1–3. In a 4 x 4 grid, use numbers 1–4. In a 5 x 5 grid… well, you can probably figure it out from there.
2.The heavily-outlined groups of squares in each grid are called “cages.” In the upper-left corner of each cage, there is a “target number” and a math operation (+, –, x, ÷).
3.Fill in each square of a cage with a number. The numbers in a cage must combine—in any order, using only that cage’s math operation—to form that cage’s target number.
Example: Your target number is 5, your operation is addition, you’re using the numbers 1–4, and the cage is made up of two squares. You could fill in 2 and 3 (because 2 + 3 = 5) or 1 and 4 (1 + 4 = 5). But which number goes in which square? Read the next instruction!
4.Important: You may not repeat a number in any row or column. You can repeat a number within a cage, as long as those repeated numbers are not in the same row or column.
5.There is only one solution to each KENKEN puzzle. As long as you follow the rules above, you’ll know you got it right!

I’m still working on the 3X3 and 4X4 games, but it has been a lot of fun working on the logic behind the game. It seems a great way to introduce more math into everyday life in a fun way. There are several places to play on-line here and here. There is also a free app that plays quite nice. Give it a try, I hope you like it as much as I have.