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Posts from the ‘Fundamental Explainers’ Category

IQ, EQ? Valid. How about CQ? (Curiosity quotient.)

A lot of times in job interviews, I would tell people that my main attribute — my real selling point – was that I’m a very curious person. That’s actually a bad thing to say in a lot of job interviews, because it’s not the precise language that the interviewer is really looking for, although that’s very flawed. It should be a really good thing to say in job interviews — because if you’re looking for a term like “a go-getter” or “a team player,” well, being curious rolls up with that kind of stuff.

Here’s a new post on Harvard Business Review that explains it a little bit, including this crucial connector: people who are more curious tend to be more comfortable with ambiguity. Can you think of a more ambiguous place than the modern workforce? Managers aren’t great, e-mails are coming from everywhere, no one really has any idea what’s going on, and everyone’s running around between meetings and telling everyone else how busy they are. It’s a world with a lot of ambiguity — so having a curious mind in there might be helpful.

Secondly, being curious leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, which makes sense because (by definition) a curious person wants to “chase” information — to learn more.

Simply stated, a person who chases knowledge tends to have more options when it comes to breaking complex tasks into a series of simpler tasks — and at core, that’s all work where really is, whether you mop floors, fly planes, publish graphic novels, work on an assembly line, or whatever else.

So if you are a hiring manager and you come across someone who’s really, earnestly discussing their curiosity — give it a listen. It might not be exactly what you want to hear, or are conditioned to hear — but it might be exactly the type of person you need on the team.

If you don’t believe me (because who am I, really?), maybe you’ll believe Jack Dorsey, who started a couple of successful businesses (Twitter and Square) — and who we’ve talked about on this site before too:

Where can you get the cheapest flight from?

We have some science behind when you should book travel to get the best discounts, and now we have a little bit of science around where you should fly from. Of course, the latter is a little bit restrictive, as people tend to fly from, uh, where they live or are working out of. But it’s still kind of interesting.

This study is based on cost per 100 km; that’s about 62 miles. The cheapest place in the world to fly from is the Philippines, where it costs $7.86 per 100 km. That means if you wanted to fly the equivalent of NYC to Atlanta in that area of the world (about 761 miles), you’d pay about $96. If you try to get a flight from NYC to Atlanta on 30 days notice right now, the lowest shot you have is about $271. Thus, it’s much cheaper to fly around Asia than within the U.S. In fact, 7 of the 10 cheapest places to fly from in the world are in Asia: Read more

You can save two hours a day with this e-mail hack

EMail Hack

The average person receives 50 work e-mails a day (I guess I’m below-average, harrumph). A quarter of the workforce, give or take, receives more than 100. E-mail is all consuming — even on a day like today, the Friday prior to Labor Day weekend, close to 89 billion business e-mails will be sent worldwide.

Take the “50” number above, and take the “100” number for 1/4 of the workforce, and round ‘em off in the middle. Let’s say you get / have to reply to about 70-75 e-mails per day. If you’re a standard 40-hour worker (again, give or take), 70 e-mails a day accounts for about two hours of your workday, each day. (McKinsey, where probably a lot of e-mails are sent every day, has backed up that research.)

So, two hours a day x 5 days a week = 10 hours a week = 1/4 of your standard work week is spent answering e-mails. That’s a lot, right? (Here’s a different approach that probably wouldn’t work for most people, but eh.)

There’s a hack, though!

Read more

Why you should love college football

Above is the ending of the Auburn-Georgia game in 2013 that helped keep Auburn undefeated. At the time, it seemed like it might be the craziest thing that happened in the SEC last year.


If you’re a dude, you invariably get into a lot of bar conversations across your 20s and 30s (and logically beyond) about whether you’re an NCAA guy, an NFL guy, or something else. When the fall comes around, this is a much bigger topic; I’ve been in two of these discussions just today. There are arguments on all sides and ultimately it’s a personal decision, but I’m an NCAA guy. Read more

What happened to Brandon Jividen, Rebecca Adams, their kids and their dog? (The Alaska missing family case.)

Super weird, with primary details here: a U.S. Air Force veteran and his girlfriend went missing (i.e. completely vanished) from Kenai, Alaska (150 miles from Anchorage) — along with two kids and a dog (Sparks). Brandon Jividen is the veteran — he’s 37. The girlfriend, Rebecca Adams, is 22. The biological father of the two children died in a motorcycle accident and, within about a month, Jividen was living with them. The family has been missing since May 31 — basically the entire summer — and the last contact anyone had with them doesn’t seem promising: Read more

The AstroDome could become the new High Line

Harris County judge Ed Emmett seemingly has a good deal of power in the Houston area. That’s relevant, because he “absolutely opposes” demolishing the AstroDome, which basically hasn’t been consistently used in years. People have been discussing the fate of the AstroDome seemingly forever, and it admittedly is on the National Register of Historic Places.

There’s a new plan in play — from Emmett — that basically aims to turn the AstroDome into the world’s largest indoor garden. That theoretically doesn’t mean a lot, since most gardens are outdoors, but it’s a very Texas-type thing to say (and could help with tourism, although I feel like most tourism to Houston is likely business travel at this point). Whether it can actually happen is largely based on the details (of course), but if it’s not getting torn down anytime soon and it’s not really hosting that much, you could do worse than putting a series of beautiful flowers inside it for people to walk around. Read more

Can we solve the Elizabeth Collins / Lyric Cook abduction-murder case?

You may know a little bit about this case, but if you don’t, here’s some basic info: the two girls (Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook) were cousins. They disappeared on July 13, 2012. Their bodies were (sadly) discovered on December 5, 2012. Here’s the distance between disappearance (Meyers Lake) and where they were found (Seven Bridges Wildlife Area):

Just recently, there’s been a dedicated website launched for this case, which remains unsolved. Here’s a direct link to the website.

They brought in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (that’s what you see on Criminal Minds) to do some suspect profiling in this case, and the bigger takeaway is fairly logical: likely a local person who knows the area well, and likely used “quiet coercion” to get the girls to go with him (her?) on the initial abduction.

Couple of key points:

If you tie everything together on this case, the most likely scenarios are:

There’s a fairly big gap in time between mid-July and early-December, just in general, and since the public doesn’t have information about the bodies or their conditions, you need to wonder about the timeline here. Was there a captivity element, or was the murder done within a few hours of the abduction and it just took the bodies longer to be discovered? Obviously if there was some type of captivity element, you’re looking for a different type of person — it’s one thing to kill a person within a few hours if you’re a psychopath, but it’s quite another to keep them locked up, etc. (Plus, you need more physical space, and likely in a semi-remote area.)

Hoping that new website leads to some closure here — it seems like this is a case that, even two years out, could be solved.



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