Context & Errata Portfolio

A fit-all category that includes writings about Complexity and Chaos theories, entropy, Emergence, power laws, behavioural economics, and so on. Plus a broad array of notions, ideas, recommendations, opinion, satire, and whimsy in many styles.

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

Sometimes I think about situational irony or absurdity, which compels me to comment. Find here poetry, short stories, essays, some attempts at humor.

"Context" covers a broad swathe of arcane subject areas that are, apparently, becoming quite generally popular—even if misunderstood. I don't profess to having serious depth in all of these fields. Subject areas include Chaos and Complexity, Emergence, non-linearity and assymmetry, self-organization, information cascades, entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics artfully applied, increasing returns economics, and so on. Still, all of these do inform my second book.

The Powerless and Vaccine Hesitancy
(01/22) — Maybe vaccine hesitancy is merely a manifestation of general ambiguity anxiety and resistance to change. It's a poor choice. (810 words; 4 min read)
Governance is Not Leadership
(09/21) — Leadership, not governance, is required. To conflate the two or assume that governance is, in fact, leadership is counter-productive and doomed. Governance is not leadership. It’s questionable whether leadership of governance is a valid nuance and valuable in the circumstance. (640 words; 3 min read)
Insurers: The Adults Have Arrived
(09/21) — I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's the insurance companies that will alter behaviour whether we recognize climate change or not. (890 words; 4 min read)
Government Effectiveness
(08/21) — There are places for government innovation, and it would be great if it were effective and efficient—while being deliberate. Those places could include great projects, like a space program, instituting national healthcare (or fixing a broken national healthcare system). But I would rather focus on effective and efficient. (885 words; 4 min read)
Remove the Public Service to Transform the Public Service
(08/21) — Public service disinclination and structure inhibits effective transforming of government. Remove it; transform government; put it back. (1,380 words; 6 min read)
The Governance Culture of the Public Sector is its 21st-Century Failing
(08/21) — Government is about… governance. For too many public officials (at all levels) that have taken it too far, focus on governance impedes doing anything meaningful. (1,050 words; 5 min read)
Listen to Your Mother (Nature): Adapt
(06/20) — The optimal method of transformation is evolution. Adaptation proves fitness for a changing environment. Especially as it relates to digital transformation, once an analogue organization leaps into the new digital environment, these are abilities are essential assets. The case for adaptation is hundreds of millions of years old. (765 words; 4 min read)
It's My Right to be Stupid: Wear a Mask
(06/20) — A pandemic-period piece making the case for wearing a mask and suggesting those who don't are being stupid—but have the freedom to do so. (985 words; 4 min read)
Digital Transformation: The COVID Rebound
(05/20) — COVID19 (and the induced economic coma) ignited behavioural change in businesses and governments. Those able to stay open often had a critical realization: “We should’ve become more digital.” As things reopen, expect an aggressive push to do just that. (830 words; 4 min read)
Appreciating Alberta
(03/20) — A response to the "Buffalo Declaration" issued out of Calgary. (880 words; 4 min read)
Sue The Bastards: The case for criminal negligence and conspiracy in the vandalism of the planet
(10/19) — An extended piece that argues for suing corporations (and their managers), lobbyists, and politicians criminally for climate change denial. (4,100 words; 17 min read)
The Republican Cult and Its Leader: A Diagnosis
(107/19) — Just another attempt to logically assess the Republicans and Trump. (995 words; 4 min read)
A Modest Proposal
(04/19) — I propose that those from whom we expect reason, thoughtfulness, maybe even wisdom—leaders in politics, private enterprise, and parts in between-—voluntarily give up Twitter and the other tools of half-baked, shameless, knee-jerk “contribution” to the conversation. (For the record, whatever it is going on in social media, it is hardly conversation.) (985 words; 4 min read)
Driving is Not A Right
(01/19) — A screed about bad drivers and why there ought to be both preventative action and consequences for it. (1,150 words; 5 min read)
Plain Language Lament
(06/18) — An extended argument that demands for "Plain Language" have gotten out of control and are actually impeding effective communication. (4,815 words; 20 min read)
Changing You, Like the Automobile
(02/18) — For my money, the car has had as much or more effect on us, our society, and our evolution as anything else except maybe the light bulb. It is so much a part of our lives, we overlook its subversive impact on us as individuals and as a society. (610 words; 3 min read)
Age and Treachery
(02/18) — There’s a proverb that youth and vitality are no match for age and treachery.Its truth is evident by decades of mass murder on American youth. Youth and vitality are the children being terrorized by ongoing mass shootings in the nation’s schools. The treacherous oldies are the NRA executives and the nation’s leaders so firmly held in the NRA’s pocket. Also, all the adults who apparently don’t care enough about the nation’s children to do anything at all about this plague. (560 words; 3 min read)
Be Careful With That Plain Language Bludgeon
(02/18) — An op-ed length caution about the prevalence and danger of "Plain Language." (915 words; 4 min read)
Laissez-Faire About Water and Privacy
(02/18) — Particularly in America, there is a founding myth of free-wheeling, unregulated capitalist democracy being a critical underpinning of (commercial) growth, societal success, and all that’s good in the world. Anything that inhibits or regulates that free wheeling is by definition bad. The question is: is right, good, or even sensible? (595 words; 3 min read)
With Digital It's Always 'Everything's Different Now'
(02/18) — I’ve been thinking about the successive waves of “Now everything’s different,” that overtook the world since the first IBM PCs and Visicalc arrived in the 1980s. In retrospect, the stench of eau de huckster exceptionalist hyperbole should have been a tip off. As a student of history, I should have known better than to get swept up. (670 words; 3 min read)
Social Media: Like Feels Like Doing Something
(02/18) — The toss-off non sequitur, "It's the least I could do…" got me to thinking about social media "likes" and "follows." It's not favourable. (655 words; 3 min read)
Digital Fluidity
(01/18) — There’s something liberating about being an expert in the realm of “digital.” It’s so wonderful because it’s so utterly undefined, being literally whatever it needs to be from day to day—expanding such that it may very well be a quantum function in an organization: at once something and nothing. (660 words; 3 min read)
Rome Was Not Transformed... In A Day
(01/18) — An op-ed piece published in Canadian Government Executive suggesting that government stick with its transformation initiatives though they may be hard. (715 words; 3 min read)
Government Can't Innovate. True... Nonsense
(12/17) — An op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen that goes some length to prove that governments get a bad rap regarding innovation. ( words; # min read)
Digital Transactionality: Why Relationships and Everything Else is Different
(10/17) — Relationships, at one time implying continuous personal connection, feel transactional if not outright commercial today. Obviously, relationships have always existed for some gain. But since the mid-nineties, we appear increasingly intolerant of the time and space needed for a relationship. Maybe it’s the result of exponentially expanding digitization. (1,900 words; 8 min read)
Just One Thing: The Secret to Transformation
(09/17) — I have the real secret of successful transformation. It does not come swaddled in famous proof points. There is no set of instructions. The real secret of transformation is flexible, universal, and works with any method and at any level you choose. The secret is just one thing. Do just one thing. And do it well. (1,200 words; 5 min read)
We Need a Minister of Everything... Cyber
(11/16) — A submission to a government request for thoughts about cybersecurity. (680 words; 3 min read)
Innovation Nation? More Like Pontificate State
(06/16) — Canada will not become “Innovation Nation.” Without start-ups, innovation has to come from the enterprise level. It will not. Innovation is not easy and immediately accessible just because the organization is large. (775 words; 4 min read)
Denying Human Nature in Cyberspace
(01/16) — With 20-years distance and experience, John Perry Barlow’s 1996 essay, Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace is obviously both timelessly universal and utterly locked in its time and place. It's an anachronistic artifact to be admired. (900 words; 4 min read)
The End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story
(09/15) — The Ashley Madison hack was bad (obviously) but… (815 words; 4 min read)
Digital Devaluation
(03/15) — This devaluation is about the corrosion of our social lives by social networking businesses. (710 words; 3 min read)
Musings on Food and Reno Porn
(08/15) — My wife is open-minded about food and reno. So we see at least one season of most cooking and DIY television. I hardly beyond grilling and tiling. But inspiration comes at the least likely times. I focus on how these wo/men created commercial empires that run into the billions (allegedly) plying a trade. (960 words; 4 min read)
Reinventing the MBA: A Minority Report
(08/15) — “Are MBA programs still viable?” “Are their graduates still valued by employers?” “It’s time to reinvent the MBA,” by Ron Duerksen, 31 Jul 2015, is willfully to the deeper and implicit question: Are you truly relevant or are you framing your assessment implicitly assuming that you are? (1,300 words; 6 min read)
Share This!
(08/15) — I have issues with "the sharing economy." It's not a new economy nor is it really "sharing." At least, let's be honest about it. (750 words; 3 min read)
Privacy is Responsibility: Personal Information as Money
(05/15) — Entrusting someone with money creates a fiduciary responsibility. Fiat money makes even fools care more about the exchange. Why not with personal information? We could do worse than treat our allegedly valuable personal information as we treat dirty old cash. (515 words; 3 min read)
Safety Dance
(06/14) — Politically correct vogue is to wring one’s hands and fulminate about dangers in the world and the dire need to protect one and all from its perils. Mental health disabilities and concussions are, among other traumas, serious stuff. But it all seems a little overdone. (1,000 words; 4 min read)
Optimism and Technology
(05/14) — Society will eventually metabolize challenging conditions and innovators will find solutions to the problem they created. Balance will be restored... and the cycle will repeat. That’s the great thing about optimism: it’s sure to be better tomorrow. (670 words; 3 min read)
Dr. Oddlust—How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Cloud
(11/13) — A paper (for Canada Post) for a postponed legal conference in Calgary (Lexpert) contemplating Cloud Computing and its future. (2,000 words; 8 min read)
Reclaiming Trust
(08/12) — Consumer trust has seriously declined in an environment of accelerated, persistent change with short-term and debilitating long-term effects.To reclaim the state of trust that existed will require trust to be “borrowed,” which should be part of every marketer’s short- to medium-term plans. (2,100 words; 9 min read)
Waterboarded on the 27th Floor
(08/12) — An alter-ego contemplation on what it might feel like to be waterboarded at a career and commonplace employment level. (800 words; 4 min read)
Lusting in my Heart
(10/08) — As TS Eliot said, "And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time." I consider how I wound up deeply desiring a pick-up truck. (960 words; 4 min read)
Thinking (About) Big
(07/08) — A follow up to Air Canada Can Save Us after the Canadian Transport Agency ruled for disabled air passenger equality. Such is what a civilized people do for those among it already bearing a burden. But obesity is a different story. (970 words; 4 min read)
Trust Deficit
(07/08) — In the terms and context of not trusting politicians, a brief contemplation of what trust is all about and how it affects organizations. (800 words; 4 min read)
Complexity of Choice
(11/07) — A white paper for Canada Post that speaks to the value provided by organizations and people that narrow alternatives for people, including necessarily limiting product and service options. (2,250 words; 9 min read)
All's Fair
(07/06) — Musing about the effect maldefining a word ("fair" as "equal" v. "equitable") can have on an organization and its success. (1,340 words; 6 min read)
Modern Maya
(03/06) — Looking back, this otherworldly bit of weirdness was a pretty harsh contemplation of how hard it is to walk the razor's edge of religious freedom and social obligation. (1,750 words; 7 min read)
Dante in Denver
(11/02) — In an homage to Signor Alighieri's trek through hell, I find myself pondering the state of digital identity in the wake of Digital Identity World 2002. (9,300 words; 11 min read)
Going Faster: But Where
(07/01) — The future will unfold in response to short-term obstacles and needs. We're going blindly into the unknown very fast. (1,300 words; 6 min read)
Brand Canada or 'Branded' Canadian
(06/01) — A Policy Options piece about Canadian character as a brand and its implications on selling Canadian goods, services, and human resources. (3,200 words; 13 min read)
Lining Up for the Anti-Globalization Conga -- Part I
(04/01) — Anti-globalization as typified by Seattle and Quebec City are unconstructive. Economics and history conspire against it. (1,300 words; 6 min read)
Air Canada Can Save Us
(02/01) — We're too fat; Air Canada is mismanaged and in receivership. This is an opportunity for one solution to solve both problems. (750 words; 3 min read)
Social Aspects of Shopping
(02/01) — We are social creatures. The conveniences and benefits of the online world are missing that key element. To permeate society fully the virtual world needs a stronger real social aspect. (900 words; 4 min read)
Caveat Reader
(01/01) — Business books of every sort are not panacea, as likely to cause harm as do good. Beware of what you read and who you follow. (800 words; 4 min read)
Suitably Short-Sighted
(01/01) — Short-term reporting, immediate gratification, and a gap between word and action are incompatible with the long-term human story. (800 words; 4 min read)
The Real "Best" Practice in the New Economy
(01/01) — The "best" practice for the new economy may be not to recognize any practices as empirically best, but merely most appropriate in the circumstances. (800 words; 4 min read)
Toward a New Employment Contract for the Knowledge Economy
(01/01) — Capitalist enterprise and labour need to work together to keep human intellectual capital at home in Canada. That entails providing opportunities and paying better than elsewhere. (3,300 words; 14 min read)
Change of Biblical Proportions
(11/00) — Twentieth-century technological development is change of Biblical proportion. Here's why. (900 words; 4 min read)
Sacrificing a Sacred Cow
(11/00) — Sacred cows, like Canadian Health Care, ought to be eaten and not sacrificed on the election altar. (1,000 words; 4 min read)
He Was What He Was
(1992) — My friend Warren was an original who died too early. We were going to save the world. Here's my thanks to him for being who he was. (1,500 words; 6 min read)
The Demise of Unpopular Aspects of Popular Religion: Out Out Damn Smoke
(1992) — What if the smell of incense bothered people attending church in the same way cigarette smoke in public places has? (1,800 words; 8 min read)
Building Memories
(1992) — I grew up in a small town, living town in every sense of the word. How the town affected everyone's life. (2,700 words; 11 mins)
Doggy Do Dos
(1992) — Here are the most important although not the only do's and don'ts you'll have to know before you buy a dog. (1,750 words; 7 min read)
The (Latch)Key of Life
(1992) — What's all this about latchkey kids and their problems? I was a prototypical latchkey kid and it doesn't seem to have been too bad for me. (1,900 words; 8 min read)

Other writings that might be of interest.