Lezioni di un black swan event

Lezioni di un black swan event

Un black swan event è per definizione un avvenimento raro, difficile da prevedere e di enorme impatto.

Le reazioni di individui, organizzazioni e governi davanti al verificarsi di tali accadimenti sono le più svariate.

Si va dalla paralisi alla negazione o anche alla reazione impulsiva e grossolana—quella che l’inglese chiama knee-jerk reaction.

Lo stiamo osservando e vivendo in questi giorni, un mese dopo che l’avanzata del Covid-19 ci ha colti di sorpresa e costretti a un’azione di retroguardia sgangherata e piena di contraddizioni.

Da cittadini assistiamo all’autorità mentre ricorre al suo strumento di default: il controllo. Ma ben venga un’azione di controllo mirata e intelligente, non lo scomposto accanimento legislativo che, con dieci decimi di vista a tunnel, lascia delle falle macroscopiche.

Ecco quindi che, mentre i residenti di un numero di province del Nord e del Centro Italia si accingono per la prima volta a compilare un’autocertificazione che l’indomani permetterà loro di spostarsi sul territorio, una folla disperata prende d’assalto l’Intercity delle 23.20 che lascia Milano – Porta Garibaldi diretto a sud, trasportando con sé un potenziale carico di portatori di virus. Stessa scena in Stazione Centrale.
E’ la notte del 7 Marzo 2020.

E il 24 Marzo, due settimane dopo il ‘treno della vergogna’, il sindaco di Messina blocca finalmente l’entrata in porto ai traghetti provenienti dalla Calabria, che ancora riversano passeggeri sull’isola, molti dei quali non autorizzati a spostarsi e potenziali portatori di contagio. Ma chiudere la stalla adesso serve a ben poco.

Contemporaneamente, 1250 km più a nord, mi accosta un’auto dei Carabinieri mentre porto a passeggio i miei due cani. Con estrema cortesia, il Carabiniere mi ricorda che quanto sopra mi è permesso entro un raggio di 200 metri dalla mia abitazione (qui siamo a circa 300 metri di distanza) e mi augura buona giornata mentre riparte.

Non è chiaro in base a quale calcolo il legislatore abbia stabilito questa distanza. Né è chiaro perché il sindaco di un altro comune italiano (8.000 abitanti) abbia deciso di fissare il limite in 150 metri e non 200. E chissà quanti altri sindaci avranno preferito 300 metri—o perché no, anche 225.

Si può credere in un provvedimento di cui non è chiara—né è stata mai spiegata—la logica?

E ancora, perché è stato proibito di andare a correre da soli? Quanto è realistico temere che un centinaio di subdoli runner corrano tutti verso la stessa destinazione per prendersi gioco dell’autorità organizzando una flash mob?

E’ la paranoia del legislatore impotente o una misura efficace per evitare assembramenti?

Io ritengo che qualunque individuo maturo e responsabile sia disposto a rinunciare a parte delle sue libertà personali per il bene comune (il suo compreso) in momenti come questo. Ma è davanti alle regole miopi e bizantine che ti prende lo sconforto; inevitabile quindi la domanda: “Ma in che mani siamo?”

Come per tutti i black swan event (Chernobyl, la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’11 Settembre 2001), anche gli effetti di questa attuale congiuntura andranno a esaurirsi e torneremo a quella che chiamiamo normalità più saggi ma anche più provati.

Quasi tutti i governi, in questa pandemia, hanno mostrato le loro carenze—a partire da quello cinese.

E noi, come individui, che cosa abbiamo imparato? E, in particolare, quali sono i takeaway che ne possiamo trarre e riversare sulla nostra attività o su quella delle aziende nostre clienti?

Trasferendo il mio attuale vissuto di cittadino sul cliente, lo stakeholder, o il passeggero e mettendomi al loro posto, mi sorgono spontanee le seguenti considerazioni, che giro volentieri alle aziende e organizzazioni con le quali collaboro:

  • Le regole ci sono per un buon motivo, ma funzionano bene solo se vengono spiegate chiaramente.
    Esprimerle nel mio linguaggio aziendale è sbagliato. Devo trovare un linguaggio condiviso con il mio cliente e accertarmi che sia compreso. Fondamentale è il rispetto per il cliente, che è un fattore basilare affinché il cliente, a sua volta, rispetti le regole.
  • Se non c’è un buon motivo alla base di una regola, questa va eliminata.
    Un istituto finanziario americano, la TD Bank, ha perfino istituzionalizzato l’esame critico da parte dei suoi collaboratori di quelle procedure che si siano rivelate controproducenti. Tramite il programma Kill a Stupid Rule”, l’azienda premia con $50 i dipendenti che identificano una regola che rischia di provocare inutilmente l’insoddisfazione dei clienti.
  • Guardiamo dall’alto alla nostra relazione con il cliente senza fissarci sulle minuzie. Serviamoci di questa helicopter view per avere una vista d’insieme del rapporto, con tutte le sue potenziali criticità e touch point Formuliamo scenari futuri—favorevoli e non—e le relative strategie da adottare. L’importante è individuare le azioni immediate da prendere senza scivolare negli aziendalismi ma calandoci piuttosto nei panni del cliente. Che cosa si aspetta da noi in un frangente come questo?
    Non perdiamo tempo a lucidare gli ottoni del Titanic se l’impatto con l’iceberg è inevitabile. Corriamo a calare le scialuppe di salvataggio.

Se da una parte gli amministratori della cosa pubblica non sembrano mostrare particolare interesse a stabilire un rapporto onesto e collaborativo con il cittadino—che è pur tuttavia il loro datore di lavoro—noi che curiamo il rapporto con il cliente non possiamo permetterci mancanze di questo genere.

Una relazione di lungo termine con il cliente ci permetterà di massimizzare il customer lifetime value (CLTV) ma sempre e soltanto se è salvaguardata la qualità della customer experience.

Questa, a sua volta, viene inevitabilmente compromessa quando diamo per scontata la fedeltà del cliente o, peggio ancora, ne insultiamo l’intelligenza.

Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place

Cartoon by Pat Cross 2020

After Super Tuesday, the US Democrats find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

Yielding to heavy pressure from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race the day before Super Tuesday—the day in which fourteen states held their primaries—and both expressed their support for former VP Joe Biden.

The race for the Dem nomination is now on between Biden and Bernie Sanders, the self-styled Democratic Socialist who’s not even a member of the Dem party. It’s a race between a far-left candidate and a left-of-center candidate. The latter. Joe Biden, shares the same ideological lane with Michael “Mini Mike” Bloomberg and could benefit from Bloomberg’s decision to call it a day.

But “Mini Mike” is not quite ready to give in, after spending over half a billion dollars in a campaign that has so far failed to propel him to the pole position. His dismal results on Super Tuesday may convince him that it’s time to stop throwing good money after bad and step aside. The decision may even come today.

Assuming that Elizabeth Warren, who’s staying in the race, is actually going nowhere, the Dems are left with Biden and Sanders. Neither candidate appears capable of defeating Donald Trump.

Sanders enjoys wide grassroots support in many states but is generally viewed as alien to America’s core values. In a debate, Trump would quickly expose him as a communist throwback pushing crackpot idealistic plans he can’t finance. It wouldn’t end well for Bernie, but at least he would be the nominee and get a chance to cross swords with Trump, after getting unfairly sidelined in 2016.

Biden’s another story. He’s a ‘moderate’ whose platform better resonates with millions of Americans. Unfortunately, he appears to be losing his mind and carries a lot of damning baggage (his dealings with Ukraine for starters). Trump would not hesitate to bring it all up in a debate and turn the event into a public execution.

If the DNC denies Bernie Sanders his nomination in spite of his final delegate count, there is a danger of many of his supporters casting a protest vote in Trump’s favor—which would clearly work against Biden.

If Bernie Sanders beats Biden and earns his nomination without the Dems resorting to dirty tricks to stop him, he will still get trounced by the incumbent President.

This is the Democrats’ dilemma and it’s hard to see a positive outcome for them.

 

Bernie’s flight

Bernie’s flight

® Cartoon by Gary Varvel @varvel

Now that the impeachment frenzy is over and President Trump has been acquitted, as was largely expected, the Democratic Party finds itself enmeshed in a predicament that never occurred before in American history.

The frontrunner of their party is a self-described democratic socialist.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is currently poised to receive the nomination as the Dem presidential candidate in the November election. But there is a problem. A big one.

According to a Gallup poll, American voters are not ready to support a socialist, while being more open to other categories of non-mainstream candidates.

Other Democrat presidential hopefuls have fallen by the wayside. The surviving ones (Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg) are circling the drain and not expected to last long.

As an aside, ex-VP Joe Biden ultimately proved to be a dud in spite of the fierce resistance the Dems put up to shield him from the inevitable fallout of his Ukraine shenanigans. Even if his wheelings and dealings in Kiev had never happened—even though there’s ample proof they did—Biden would have still been a failure.

The man’s incoherent and deeply flawed. He can claim no personal achievements except being Obama’s sidekick. In a presidential debate against Donald Trump he’d be annihilated, even with the mainstream media firmly in his corner.

This is the Democratic Donkey’s predicament. How to sink Sanders for the second time (it’s a known fact the Dems cheated him of his nomination in 2016) without triggering off a revolution?

This is where Michael Bloomberg comes in. With his unlimited financial resources, Bloomberg can literally
buy the nomination, but this will come at a high political price. If the Democrats pull the rug from under the Vermont socialist, there’s no guarantee that his base will rally around the 78-year-old billionaire. In fact, it’s largely expected they will launch violent protests, abstain from voting and even give their vote to Trump in retaliation.

To conclude, the Democrats will soon need to perpetrate a most undemocratic act—they must sink their frontrunner in order to save their party and stand a chance in the November election.

Neither goal appears attainable.

Dem desperation

Dem desperation

cartoon by AF Branco, Conservative Daily News

A party deeply divided, an election lost through hubris and incompetence, a slew of key judicial appointments hanging in balance, and finally a weak lineup of 2020 presidential candidates.

If you’re looking for reasons behind the US Democrats’ attempt to overthrow a duly elected President, look no further.

Of course, if you listen to the Dem rhetoric, the President committed “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” when he asked Ukraine to investigate the corrupt Bidens and claimed “executive privilege” when the Dems asked to interview his closest aides. Neither behavior—if you look at it closely—meets the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” set by the US Constitution.

What Trump is accused of qualifies as (a) Realpolitik, and (b) defense of the role of the President.

The Democrats have no grounds to complain after years of Obama’s autocratic rule and, if they wish to challenge the President’s right to “executive privilege”, they can take him to court. But they won’t, they’re in a hurry.

The Dems find themselves in existential dire straits and they need this impeachment now—they even hinted as much even before Donald J. Trump was elected President. What the ballot box would not give them, they want to achieve by impeachment.

Again, here are their main reasons:

  • The party is torn between the old guard of geriatric grifters and the new hires, a shrill bunch of far-left wingers who only represent a small minority of the traditional Dem voters, while Trump is making massive inroads into blue collar workers, African-Americans and even Latinos.
  • Trump’s upset victory in 2016 is still an open wound for Dems. Hillary Clinton outspent him by nearly 3 to 1, had a well-oiled political machine and 90 percent of the mainstream media on her side—and still lost.
  • Trump is quietly appointing conservative judges to strategic posts. In the three years of Trump’s tenure as President, the Senate has confirmed 50 circuit court judges (against 55 judges appointed by Obama in 8 years). To this, one must add a probable vacancy in the Supreme Court in the next few months—possibly even before the November election.
  • And finally, the Dem presidential candidates are a bunch of vulnerable individuals who would not last long in a matchup with Trump, no matter what some polls say. Especially in this booming economy and after the President delivered on an unprecedented number of campaign promises.

It appears more than likely that the current impeachment sham will crash and burn in the Senate, but I suspect the Dems are not done yet. Their desperation will probably produce some more harebrained “Hail Mary” moves.

PS: For a very funny take on the Dems’ failure to annihilate their nemesis, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQJoar17jyo

Torna a casa, Greta

Torna a casa, Greta

E ora Greta se ne torna a casa dopo un’improbabile traversata a vela dell’Atlantico (quando hai i venti contrari e due motori da 75CV, cosa fai? Non li usi?) e una stupida polemica con le ferrovie tedesche a causa del treno affollato (la teenager saccente non avrebbe trovato posto in prima classe se non per una parte del viaggio.)

Orrore. Magari la prossima volta i suoi invisibili burattinai prenoteranno per tempo come fanno le persone normali.

Dopo un anno sabbatico in cui Greta ha galvanizzato gli imbecilli e la stampa (lo so, sono sinonimi) e lacerato i nervi alle persone ragionevoli, è arrivato il momento di tornare a casa e tirare le somme dell’avventura ecologista.

Non sarà un bilancio confortante. A parte il furore mediatico, Greta non ha ottenuto nulla di concreto per il futuro del pianeta—ammesso che l’intera montatura avesse quello come scopo.

Il Team Thunberg, però, si è portato a casa il titolo “Persona dell’Anno” conferito a Greta dalla rivista TIME e una serie di riconoscimenti minori. Fonti ben informate dicono che, se vai alla cassa della metropolitana milanese portando tutti quei titoli e due euro in contanti, ti verrà consegnato un biglietto per una corsa.
(E pazienza per il mancato Premio Nobel per la Pace. Anche Obama ha dovuto aspettare i 50 anni per averlo.)

Torna a scuola Greta e prova a vivere da teenager. Tutti abbiamo voluto cambiare il mondo a sedici anni ma solo in seguito abbiamo capito che non è con gli scioperi del venerdì che si ottiene qualcosa.

 

Target Fixation in Washington, DC

Target Fixation in Washington, DC

Any experienced motorcycle rider will tell you that “target fixation” is a major cause of serious accidents.
The rider’s gaze becomes so fixated on the object he wants to avoid that it eventually causes the rider to crash into it.

During the run-up to the last US presidential election, I was not a Trump supporter. I quickly turned into one in July 2016 when Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party nominee.

The brash and pushy New York billionaire became the obvious choice when compared with the thoroughly corrupt and grossly incompetent former Secretary of State and ex-First Lady.

I did not know at the time that the Democrat smear machine was already working around the clock to make sure Donald J. Trump would not become the 45th US President.

Yet, the unthinkable happened. In spite of the concerted covert efforts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Clinton camp, the Obama Administration—steadfastly supported by an overwhelming majority of the mainstream media (MSM)—Trump won in an electoral-college landslide. (Anybody still claiming that Hillary won the ‘popular vote’ should take that to the bank and find out how much it’s worth.)

The moment Trump became the President-elect, the coalition of Never-Trumpers switched gears and began to plot his takedown. Calls for his impeachment were actually heard even before he was elected, and became the rallying cry for the Clintons, the Obama holdovers in key ‘deep state’ positions, the DNC, a number of foreign actors who were counting on (and had even paid for) Hillary’s support, the so-called “creative community” in Hollywood, and even a handful of Republicans who felt the ground shake under their feet.

Once again, the anti-Trump camp could count on massive support from the press, which was 80 percent against the new President. The fourth estate’s big guns included CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, and many more. Most European newspapers and press outlets were also clearly against Trump. As were most European leaders, including Italy’s Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni, who reportedly aided and abetted the anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ plotters in ways that are just now being brought to light.

The first all-out attack was the infamous ‘Russiagate’ hoax. Based on a now-debunked dossier paid for by the Clinton Campaign and the DNC, it falsely accused Trump of colluding with the Russians, who had purportedly ‘hacked into’ the electoral process to defeat Hillary Clinton. Based on this uncorroborated information and barely four months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the “Mueller Investigation” was rolled out, which was supposed to expose the new President’s entanglement with the Kremlin—or so the Democrats hoped.

Fast forward two years. In April 2019, the Mueller Report was finally released and, against the Dems’ expectations, turned out to be—in political parlance—a ‘nothingburger.’
Mueller could not prove the President’s purported collusion with the Russian nor his ‘obstruction of justice’, which was the fallback option for the all-Democrat investigative team under Special Counsel Mueller.

Mueller himself was interviewed by the Congress in July 2019 in a much-touted hearing that totally blew up in the Democrats’ face and possibly marked the lowest point in Robert Mueller’s already mottled career.

Around the same time, Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. The strategic importance of having a fifth conservative judge on the nine-member panel is obvious and the Democrats fought against it with another smear campaign that betrayed their established modus operandi.

A first accuser came forward claiming she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh 36 years earlier, in 1982.
Apart from her testimony, which she delivered before Congress, none of the purported witnesses had any recollection of this event. A slew of later accusations of the same nature came from other women, but none was deemed credible. Judge Kavanaugh—who vehemently denied all charges—was confirmed to the Supreme Court and became ‘Justice Kavanaugh’ in October 2018.

In retrospect, the Kavanaugh Affair was just a sideshow to the main offensive against Donald Trump, but it clearly illustrates the Democrat playbook and the propensity of the MSM to run with any uncorroborated accusation and hoax as long as Trump and the Republican Party are the targets.

The moment the Mueller probe proved to be a dud, the DNC/MSM complex hatched yet another harebrained scheme, which they rolled out in a matter of weeks.

Indeed, you can reliably predict which will be the next concerted attack by the Dems.

How do you do that?

Simple. Pick any potential Democrat scandal and spin it into an accusation leveled at Donald Trump.

The Russiagate was fundamentally a smear campaign orchestrated by the DNC and the Clinton camp with the support of assets in Russia and Ukraine, but the main thrust was to accuse presidential candidate Donald Trump of colluding with Moscow. So, while it was the Dems who colluded with the Russians, they flipped the conspiracy pancake and attempted a takedown of Donald Trump whom they accused of having enlisted Russian help during his 2016 campaign.

(By the way, does anybody remember Barack Obama’s open-mic faux pas when he promised then Russian President Medvedev “more flexibility” after his 2012 reelection? Where was the outrage then?)

The most recent attempt to impeach Trump is the so-called “Ukrainegate.” Trump is now accused of having withheld military aid to Ukraine until the country’s new president officially announced an investigation into ex-VP Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his suspicious activities for a corrupt Ukrainian company.

Here’s the same pattern again. The Bidens, father and son, were likely involved in a corrupt scheme that reportedly netted them several million dollars. The MSM had shown no particular interest in pursuing the matter, but this still was a potential time bomb for 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

So the DNC/MSM complex fabricated a whistleblower situation in which a concerned citizen blows the whistle on Trump’s attempt to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to obtain an investigation into the Bidens, which would allegedly benefit his reelection campaign.

Unfortunately for the Dems and their press enablers, the ‘unknown’ whistleblower is a well-known Dem operative with ties to Obama holdovers, and the whole hoax got botched from the word ‘go’ by its perpetrators. In a series of Congressional hearings conducted in a blatantly partisan manner—now that the House is run by Democrats—not a single witness has testified to a quid pro quo by Donald Trump.
Indeed, we have repeatedly heard that the military aid to Kiev was released while no official announcement of an investigation was made by Zelensky. So where was the quid pro quo?

Meanwhile, public support for this ‘impeachment inquiry’ is evaporating fast. The Dems are being accused of diverting an extravagant amount of Congressional time to the pursuit of their orange-complexioned nemesis, and the risk of pushing independent voters into the Trump camp is becoming greater by the day.

The fact that any alleged misconduct by the President is nothing but a transparent pretext was revealed in May 2019 by a Dem congressman’s statement: “If we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.”
In other words, we can’t allow the democratic election process to go forward and deliver another mandate for Trump.

Hence this ongoing “soft coup” that began even before Donald J. Trump Took office.

Eager to prove their mettle to a raucous and increasingly left-wing party base, Democrat leaders have developed a lethal form of target fixation. While single-mindedly trying to impeach the 45th President—and failing at that—they might well end up ensuring his landslide reelection in November 2020 and concurrently causing the Democratic Party to crash and burn.