Category: 14. Analyses

Zipf’s Law

Zipf’s law is a mysterious, empirical law – it’s also linked to Pareto’s rule: It suggests limits on the size of companies and their share of markets According to Annalee Newitz, the editor of i09, in 1949 linguist George Zipf noticed that people used a very small number of words most of the time – …

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Blinkered analyses

When analysing the causes of a problem and seeking a solution, one should consider a few pearls from The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis: Once an uncertain situation has been perceived or interpreted in a particular fashion, it is quite difficult to view it in any other way Images of the future are shaped by …

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Pareto analyses

Pareto, a 19th century Italian economist, spotted that “80% of effects arise from only 20% of possible causes” – apply this rule to national productivity levels and just the top quintile of companies determine whether improvements are made – and it has been ever thus In other words, the great majority of companies are doing …

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Pin factory productivity

Adam Smith illustrated how the division of labour could improve productivity in the famous small pin factory example he used in his tome ‘Wealth of Nations’, 1776, viz: 10 workers, each specialising in a different aspect of the work , could produce over 48,000 pins a day However, if each of these ten workers had made …

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