Web/Tech

"Why Doctors Hate Their Computers"

Long piece by noted doctor/author Atul Gawande. More interesting in the first half than the second.

I don't think Gawande details adequately what I see as an important problem. There are two cultures: one lived in by the trainers and tech support folks, and the other, the users. At least some of the time the support people have done little, or even no, work that the users are doing. When their enthusiasms that the users don't share--IBM JCL is neat! DOS is wonderful! (No, they weren't.)--are combined with a lack of understanding of the users' interests, abilities, and time constraints, the support people can become frustrated, even cynical, about users. ("Most of the users aren't paying attention, or worse, they're simply morons!") The users, for their part, have almost no experience working in tech support. That can lead them to fail to recognize than many users are not, in fact, paying attention, and a few of them may even be morons. 

Part of a solution that would be nice, but is probably too costly for most situations would be for the two groups to switch jobs for a little while. Ask the support people to try to do, at a scaled-down level, the work of the users. (Related: hire for support positions people who actually did the work but are now, for some benign reason, switching careers.) Ask the users to answer support questions. At the least, this might well increase patience and tolerance.


"New Weapon for Blockchain Startups: Nobel Prize-Winning Brains"

Note to the haters--you know who you are--the "Brains" referred to are four professional economists.

Also there's this:

. . . led by Pat Bajari, Amazon has hired more than 150 Ph.D. economists in the past five years, making them the largest employer of tech economists.  In fact, Amazon now has several times more full time economists than the largest academic economics department, and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

(That's Tyler Cowen, quoting a recent paper by Susan Athey and Michael Luca.)