Ponzi

Bernie Madoff is the former Chairman of NASDAQ, former head of Madoff Investment Securities, and is at the center of a $50 billion ponzi scheme — the largest in history.

In this clip 2007, Madoff focuses on the ruleset automation side of the business, and the benefits that brings:

“In today’s regulatory environment, it’s virtually impossible to violate rules. This is something the public doesn’t really understand. If you read things in the newspaper, and you see someone violating a rule, you say, “You know, they’re always doing this,” but it’s impossible to a violation to go undetected, certainly for a considerable amount of time.”

His website is now a bit more somber:

The Honorable Louis L. Stanton, Federal Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, has appointed Lee S. Richards of the law firm Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP receiver over the assets and accounts of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BMIS”) as per the attached order.

PDF downnload.

The Shape of Education to Come

Half Sigma notes that eBooks readers will become cheapter than books, while Purpleslog argues that public education should be fixed.

No Child Left Behind is an important tool in fixing education, but like the current generation of eBook readers (and even corn-based ethanol, for that matter), NCLB is a transitional technology, not an end in itself.

Most text-books cost about $100. Imagine how the world changes when sub-notebooks running Windows 7 cost about $100 and can bounce without breaking.

How far away is that?
How long after that would be bother with physical books for students?

For just one idea of the shape of things to come, take automated teaching software like Rosetta Stone. Imagine hooking up simmilar software to students pay-pal accounts, and paying them some amount ($5.00, say) to pass a lesson. Do the same for mathematics, science, vocabulary, grammer, and other core courses. Have some form of proctoring, and you’ve just automated a lot of teachers out of a job, or freed them up to teach higher-level skills while we netbooks and paypal to program learning like we program computers..

rosetta_stone

Teaching to the test, of course, is a good thing, as long as we have good tests.

Computer tech is becoming cheap and resilient enough that, for much of education, we won’t need ‘teachers’ at all. Just someone to swap out the batteries on the teaching machines, someone to monitor the test taking, and someone to make sure the floors are clean.

Learning Curves and Time-Series User Experience

There is an interesting post titled “How the SUV User Experience Trashed Detroit” that talks about our friends in Detroit some. What I find interesting is not so much its attack on SUVs, as its division of “User Experience” into First-, Early-, and Deep user experience.

How the SUV User Experience Trashed Detroit
When we speak of the “user experience” and how it impacts purchase and adoption of products and services we divide the framework into three basic pieces: 1) the FUE or the first user experience, 2) the EUE early user experience and 3) the DUE the deep user experience. We know from extensive research for leading high technology and media companies that there is no EUE or DUE without a very compelling FUE…in other words, what the customer first experiences is all important and in fact my be uniquely critical to the success of products which in the end, like the SUV, are of marginal or even negative relative value in the larger context. If you get the FUE right you can sell almost anything and customers will thank you for it. When we employ more advanced psychometric testing methods to user experience design research problems this effect surfaces in web sites, cell phones, video games, automobiles and a wide range of other high tech products and services.

It appears that the First/Early/Deep division of user experience is a way of describing the learning curve (becoming more proficient with the tool over time) and the affective curve (becoming less “wowed” and more comforted with the tool over time). I don’t know if we need to split user experience into three separate sections, except for ease of memory (think back to when some folks took the idea of 4GW as a dialectically distinct gradient of war, for instance), but the idea of user experience naturally changing over time is an important one.

Tools that market themselves should have both a steep learning curve and an affective hook that gives people patience to learn how to use them.