7 Business Podcasts I Never Miss

PODCASTS ARE AN IMMENSE JOY. I listen to dozens of shows and episodes a week on business, science, religion, humanities and all things in between.

Which Business Podcasts do I never miss?

1. Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn is a fantastic resource for ideas on digital product creation, licensing, distribution and marketing. Pat is the author of Let Go, a memoir charting his career from aspiring architect to highly successful digital entrepreneur. His podcasts are packed full of ideas, insight and interviews with leading digital business entrepreneurs. If you are looking for fresh thinking, additional leverage or new business models then check out Smart Passive Income.

2. The HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review is a must listen for ‘thinking junkies’. It covers an eclectic set of topics from cognition and psychology through sector news and innovation. Learn better negotiation skills, an ideal schedule for your brain, body language secrets and communication skills all from a single and highly credible source. A polymath’s dream!

3. Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas is an uptempo show awash with valuable lessons. Hear the stories of successful entrepreneurs, how they overcame low-points, set-backs and adversity and what steps you can take to both avoid their mistakes and capitalize on their successes.

4. TED Talks Audio – TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is THE premier source for gourmet brain food. If your creativity needs a boost, spend some time with their amazing resources. Use TED to trigger lateral thinking and soon adjacent, parallel and downright left-field business ideas will come flooding into the creative brain.

5. The Ziglar Show – Zig Ziglar was a sensational motivator, speaker and leader. His son Tom Ziglar presents the Ziglar Show with co-host Kevin Miller, sharing Zig’s wisdom and inspiring philosophy. If you are unfamiliar with Zig Ziglar I cannot recommend highly enough that you check out his books and videos. To get started, check out Ziglar.com.

6. The Tim Ferriss Show – Tim is the author of the New York Times bestseller, the “The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich.” The show is another eclectic spread of topics from investing to chess to pro-sports with a clinical focus on uncovering tips, techniques and tools that can be used, adapted and transposed to new situations.

7. The Investors Podcast – I was fist attracted to this podcast because of its tagline “we study billionaires.” As Napoleon Hill studied the 500 most influential men in his formulation of “Think and Grow Rich”, or Tony Robbins did in his latest book “Money: Master the Game”, the Investors Podcast follows a similar path. Interviews and insight from the most successful businessmen and women of our time. This podcast name checks Pat Flynn, Tony Robbins, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, Napoleon Hill, Charles Koch and Jeff Bezos, deep dives into investing strategies, innovations like Bitcoin and the latest books from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Cialdini and Peter Thiel.

Listicle as a Mindmap

If like me you are a visual thinker, you want your Listicle as a picture as well – and here it is…

7 Business Podcasts I Never Miss by Steve Nimmons
7 Business Podcasts I Never Miss, by Steve Nimmons (@stevenimmons)

Bonus List

Ok, I’m breaking a cardinal rule of listicles, but we all love bonus content, so here are some more excellent podcasts I rarely miss…

I really appreciate you taking time to stop by and checking out the list. I very much hope you enjoy the podcasts and find them as valuable as I do. Please share the list with anyone you think would appreciate and enjoy…

Financial Freedom, Independence and Security – a Thinking Frame

I AM VORACIOUS CONSUMER of content on peak performance, financial investing and personal development. I am huge fan of folks like Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and further back in history of Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill.

Recently I have been devouring everything I can get hold of from Tony Robbins. Everything from Youtube videos to podcasts to audio and print books. I am currently reading his latest work entitled, Money: Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

Mastering the Money Game

In the book, Robbins interviews financial moguls such as Carl Icahn, Warren Buffett, Jack Bogle, Steve Forbes, Ray Dalio and Sir John Templeton. With obvious parallels to Napoleon Hill’s work with Andrew Carnegie some 80 years earlier, he seeks out the best financial minds for investment advice that would serve today’s average investor. Robbins was motivated by a burning desire to help investors understand the reasons for losses made in the recent financial crash and how a balanced investment portfolio could offset risk. He interviewed luminaries in hedge fund, mutual fund and institutional investing.

Robbins outlines the need for asset allocation and a clear understanding of risk tolerance and risk distribution throughout the portfolio. He also talks about a simple concept that I found really useful to think through.

Ask most people how much money they need to be financially secure and they will either have no clue or grossly overestimate the amount. They believe that happiness comes with millions of dollars, but do they need anything like that to achieve Financial Freedom, Financial Independence or basic Financial Security?

Robbins outlines three concepts that help frame how to think through the question.

Financial Security

Robbins defines this as the amount of money that covers housing, food, insurance and basic travel costs for life. What do you really need to cover this for life? Is it a surprising amount?

Financial Independence

This is defined as the amount of money you need so you don’t have to work and everything is covered. I love Tony’s quote that:

the only reason to invest is so that you have an income for life without working.

This is worth taking a few minutes to reflect on, and a personal admission here that I have often chased asset and material acquisition with little self-control or strategy.

Financial Freedom

This he defines as the amount of money you need so you don’t need to work and everything you can think of is covered.

Decomposing financial thinking into these three areas is really helpful when returning to the central question, “how much do you really need?” Financial Security might be a lot closer than you first thought. Your view of Financial Independence may not be as opulent as you had imagined? Financial Freedom might be the unbounded multi-million dollar dream, but can you set a realistic upper limit? Instead of ‘buying the island’ could you ‘rent the island’ for 2 weeks a year?

The Thinking Frame

I’ve created a little thinking frame that I really hope you will find useful, summarizing the three buckets or levels of financial ‘need’. I hope they help you think about what amounts you are chasing and how you are going to achieve them.

In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill poses a profound if esoteric thought that what the mind perceives and believes, it can bring into physical realization. I’ll leave you to reach your own point of view on that, but it is a fascinating and wonderfully optimistic philosophy to live by…

Financial Planning Thinking Frame
Thinking about Financial Security, Financial Independence and Financial Freedom – A Model inspired by the work of Tony Robbins

Countering Fraud with Big Data Analytics

OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT FIGURES are underestimating the cost of fraud to the NHS by a factor of 20. A former counter-fraud detector Jim Gee claims that fraud is costing the NHS £5bn a year. It is also alleged that hundreds of millions are being wasted every year due to financial errors.

The government disputes the figures and estimates fraudulent losses of £229m per annum. Both numbers are staggering. The potential impact on front line services and patient welfare is stark.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced funding for Big Data research in his 2014 budget. What part could Big Data play in helping UK Government and NHS Protect reduce financial crime?

Big Data Analytics – Countering Fraud in a Big Data World

The fraud and risk market is growing fast and Big Data analytics plays a central counter-fraud role. IBM has invested billions in Big Data Analytics and Big Data research. From the intelligence analysis software of i2 to the purchase of Israeli tech company Trusteer, IBM is amassing an impressive arsenal of counter-fraud weaponry.

Big Data Analytics

Big Data, Big Analytics: Emerging Business Intelligence and Analytic Trends for Today’s BusinessesBig Data, Big Data Analytics

IBM report that 25% of large companies will adopt Big Data Analytics for security or fraud detection by 2015. They estimate that $3.5 trillion (USD) are lost each year from fraud and financial crime with $21bn in identify fraud.

IBM Big Data Analytics counter-fraud

IBM Big Data and Analytics Help Stop Fraudsters in their Tracks. (PRNewsFoto/IBM)

Counter-fraud Big Data Analytics will be bolstered by the formation of a dedicated IBM Red Cell that will support the work of IBM X-Force.

Red Cell Rising

A ‘Red Cell’ may sound like an elite fighting unit in Crimea or somewhere to imprison Pussy Riot. It is however a new IBM counter-fraud intelligence task force. Red Cell will provide trend scanning, research and continuous improvement capabilities to counter-fraud Big Data Analytics.

Counter-fraud Analytics in London

IBM is working with London boroughs and is tackling council tax fraud in Camden. Hilary Simpson, Head of ICT Business Partnering at London Borough of Camden said “information we once considered unobtainable is now within our grasp. We have identified at least a dozen specific examples where a Residents’ Index, based on IBM Big Data and Analytics technology can help us. We have estimated that the solution could help to cut single person council tax discount fraud by five percent, potentially delivering major savings for our borough.”

Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics: the Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or DiePredictive Analytics

Big Data Analytics is providing governments and businesses with unprecedented insight into citizen and consumer behaviour. Fraud leaves traces, data can be ‘dusted’ for digital fingerprints. The volume and combination of attributes that can be explored within the data has grown exponentially. Big Data Analytics and counter-fraud algorithms will help forensic investigators expose and prosecute the fraudsters.

The prize is obvious: reducing trillions of dollars in global fraud, and tackling appalling levels of financial crime in health and other sectors.

Big Data Books

  1. Big Data Analytics: Turning Big Data into Big MoneyBig Data Analytics
  2. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and ThinkBig Data
  3. Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the OpportunitiesBig Data at Work
  4. Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinkingBig Data and Data Science
  5. Doing Data Science: Straight Talk from the Frontline

The Big Data Budget

LONDON: The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP delivered his annual budget this week. Osborne announced a brace of economic measures and reported economic recovery ahead of forecast. His economic strategy balances austerity and growth in manufacturing and high-tech.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP with Tech Entrepreneur Steve Nimmons

The author with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP

£42m funding for Big Data research and a new institute named after code breaker and legendary British scientist Alan Turing was announced. In interviews with Insight.com and the Smart Data Collective I welcomed the news and warned of an ‘information arms race’. Business of ‘all size’ need to understand this ‘arms race’ and its implications.

Define your Big Data Strategy NOW

Data production is now measured in quintillions of bytes per day. If your customers or competitors have better information, technology and analytics then it is time to worry and urgently get to grips with your Big Data strategy.

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think

This means:

  1. Understanding your critical business information – including ownership, quality, size and scale and growth rate
  2. Understanding your customers and competitors – Customer demands are constantly changing. They want to be treated as individuals, not customer segments. They demand (and deserve) excellent and immediate customer service, innovation and competitive prices. Customer satisfaction must be actively managed and customer sentiment (particularly in the context of social media) must not be ignored Competitors are looking for a competitive edge, which can be found in better information and smarter analytics. If your Big Data strategy is weak (or non existent) expect to see an erosion in market share. If competitors can gain more insight into your customers and move quickly to satisfy emerging need, your business will come under serious pressure
  3. Understand your technology strategy and the Big Data technologies you will adopt in your tech roadmaps (a previous article on Big Data Ecosystems is a useful reference)

Big Data Technology Ecosystem

Big Data Ecosystem by Steve Nimmons

Your Big Data Strategy should answer three critical questions:

  1. What information do I have? (and how can I exploit it)
  2. What information do I need? (and where can I obtain it)
  3. How will I find and then exploit new insights? (for competitive advantage and customer delight)

These are deceptively simple questions.

Beware Big Data Naysayers

The British Chancellor understands that Big Data research will be a key enabler of economic growth for the UK and British businesses. Commentators that claim Big Data is hype are fools. Data growth is exponential and Big Data analytics is critical in every conceivable business context.

Do not ignore Big Data and allow customer dissatisfaction and competitor strength to overwhelm you. As the arms race continues, those that act fast and smart will triumph. Those that act slowly or without focus will suffer the cruellest of fates. The information arms race will not take prisoners.

Data Science and Big Data Books

  1. Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the OpportunitiesBig Data at Work
  2. Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better ResultsBig Data Analytics
  3. Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinkingData Science for Business
  4. Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using AnalyticsUnderstanding Business Analytics
  5. Microsoft Big Data SolutionsMicrosoft Big Data Solutions

Crowdsourcing the Search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370

MALAYSIA AIRLINES flight 370 disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Malaysian authorities are presiding over a spiralling public relations disaster. The tragic loss of passengers and crew is exacerbated by seemingly inaccurate and untimely information. As the search widens, could Crowdsourcing using the internet help solve the mystery of the disappearance of flight 370?

Tomnod Crowdsourcing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Crowdsourcing the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Tomnod and DigitalGlobe

Crowdsourcing – as old as Civilisation Itself

Crowdsourcing is using the wisdom, experience and enthusiasm of a crowd to solve problems. It is as old as civilisation itself. In the digital world, Wikipedia is Crowdsourcing, the internet itself is Crowdsourcing – information provided and shaped by the crowd at unprecedented scale.

Getting Results From Crowds

The potential of “the Wisdom of Crowds” has long been recognised by problem solvers, product designers, businesses and governments. In the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, an ingenious solution from Tomnod (a subsidiary of DigitalGlobe) is attracting significant attention.

Tomnod, Crowdsourcing the Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

DigitalGlobe has positioned satellites over the primary search areas. It provides map data via the Tomnod website for volunteers to analyse. Tomnod subdivides the satellite image data into sets of ‘map tiles’ and displays them to volunteers to search for signs of wreckage, life rafts or oil slicks. Millions of volunteers are using Tomnod and DigitalGlobe’s technologies to search for the missing flight.

When a volunteer identifies an area warranting investigation, they mark the map tile. Each map tile is studied by successive volunteers and if others mark the same areas, expert resources use more detailed satellite images to confirm or rule out any ‘sighting’.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Tomnod Crowdsourcing

The search for flight 370

A key benefit of the Tomnod approach is that massive amounts of satellite imagery can be searched quickly by massively subdividing the task among volunteers. This is efficient and cost effective and allows more specialist resources to look at detailed images from areas highlighted by the large volunteer group.

As the search areas widen, Tomnod can ‘easily change’ focus by providing new satellite data. As the ocean is ‘ever-changing’ continuous re-searching is also necessary. Tides and drift may bring wreckage, life rafts or fuel slicks into previously ‘cleared areas’.

Challenges in Crowdsourcing this Type of Problem

The main challenges are the experience of the crowd, the quality of the images provided to them and the scalability of the web platform. As millions participate, it becomes hard to provide high-resolution images to huge numbers of participants. Bandwidth and server performance drop and outages occur.

Tomnod Crowdsourcing Technical Error

Technical issue on the Tomnod site (18th March 2014)

The experience and ability of the crowd matters. As flight MH370 has yet to be found, ‘all’ items marked by Tomnod volunteers are ‘false positives’. Looking at more detailed image data, the false positives come from volunteers identifying (what turns out to be) commercial shipping.

We talk about ‘searching for a needle in a haystack’. I think of the Tomnod Crowdsourcing approach as looking for the haystacks in which to look for the needles. Volunteers with low-resolution satellite images may find haystacks. Specialists with high-resolution images can look within those haystacks.

Is Crowdsourcing Better for Approximation?

The search for flight MH370 is binary, it is either found or it is not. Tomnod used its technology to good effect in Somalia when they mobilised a large volunteer network to search images for evidence of displaced populations. They tasked volunteers to look for temporary dwellings, which would indicate displacement of refugees fleeing conflict. The project was successful, but the problem itself was tolerant of ‘approximation error’.

The Somalia problem was one of ‘size and scale’, and Crowdsourcing the estimation of ‘size and scale’ is relatively simple. The search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is harder, as the outcome is not an approximation and therefore has no tolerance of error.

Keeping the Crowd Engaged and not Enraged

The size of Tomnod’s volunteer network is impressive, but keeping 3 million volunteers engaged is challenging. I mentioned in the opening that Crowdsourcing is as ‘old as civilisation itself’, but we have only started to ‘scratch the surface’ in terms of understanding how to best use (and motivate) massive crowds in online problem solving.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice

Gamification shows enormous potential. Recent projects from Cancer Research UK, such as the ‘play to cure’ games are particularly interesting.

Crowdsourcing can also be dangerous if not adequately monitored and moderated. Crowds can turn into mobs and a mob with poor information, prejudice and social media can quickly become hysterical and uncontrollable. The search for the Boston Marathon bombers gave us insight into the potential dark side of Crowdsourcing.

It is uncertain whether the Tomnod project will help locate flight MH370. What is clear is that a massive number of volunteers want to help. Crowdsourcing on a massive scale has high potential but arguably needs more sophisticated models and tools.

As anguish for relatives and friends continues, it can only be hoped that the mystery of flight MH370 is resolved quickly. The ‘Power of the Crowd’ might prove to be a critical factor.

Books on Crowdsourcing, Gamification, Serious Gaming

  1. Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World
  2. Crowdsourcing (MIT Press Essential Knowledge)
  3. Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software
  4. Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things
  5. Serious Games for Business: Using Gamification to Fully Engage Customers, Employees and Partners