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Exam Code: M2010-616 Practice exam 2022 by Killexams.com team
TSM Butterfly Analysis Engine Report Sales Mastery V1
IBM Butterfly information search
Killexams : IBM Butterfly information search - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/M2010-616 Search results Killexams : IBM Butterfly information search - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/M2010-616 https://killexams.com/exam_list/IBM Killexams : Butterfly Network: Not Ready Yet
Blue Morpho Butterfly Banner

Liliboas/E+ via Getty Images

As with most SPACs, Butterfly Network (NYSE:BFLY) has had a mixed history as a public company. The digital health company has a promising technology to transform health care via a handheld ultrasound affordable by low income countries, but the financial results and questions about competitive pressures have led to disappointing results. My investment thesis is far more Neutral on the stock now following a period of weak results and high ongoing losses in a tough economic environment.

Lots Of Promise

Affordable handheld ultrasounds have a lot of promise, but Butterfly Network is still mostly a startup. The company raised a ton of cash in the SPAC deal, but Butterfly is no closer now to reaching profitable operations while being reliant on improving 2H sales in order to cut losses.

For Q1'22, the company reported revenues of $15.6 million. The numbers missed analysts targets by $2.1 million, but the revenues were mostly in line with the estimates provided by management with expectations for 2022 sales still hitting a target of $85.5 million for the year.

The bigger issue is that the promise of affordable ultrasounds comes with too much development costs. Even more important, Butterfly Network is going the wrong way on the cost structure even with revenues growing by 25% in the quarter.

The adjusted EBITDA loss in the quarter grew from $26.5 million last Q1 to $40.0 million in Q1'22. The company spent a vast larger amount on R&D expenses along with other general operating expenses during the quarter while revenues failed to reach the original financial projections when the SPAC deal was announced.

The higher expenses in R&D and S&M speak to these issues. In Q1'22, Butterfly spent ~50% more on both categories with those total expenses jumping to $38.8 million in the quarter before stripping out stock-based compensation of ~$3 to $4 million in both Q1s.

Said another way, Butterfly had to jack up costs substantially for minimal additional sales. Just those expenses far exceeded the revenues of $15.6 million and the gross profit at just $8.3 million.

The promise has to lead to substantial sales growth. Remember though, sales growth is needed to just reach the 2022 sales target. Butterfly is still targeting quarterly adjusted EBITDA losses topping $40 million based on the internal forecast of a $185 million EBITDA loss for the year.

2022 Guidance slide

Source: Butterfly Network Q1'22 presentation

Competitive Threats

The biggest concern remains the impact of competition on the ability of Butterfly to hit financial targets. One only needs to do a search for handheld ultrasounds to see several options from GE Healthcare (GE) plus several other providers.

Vscan image

Source: Vscan

The new Vscan Air appears to have a higher price point, but GE has a much stronger brand name. Butterfly isn't in the best financial position to compete aggressively with a competitor with far larger financials.

The University of Rochester Medical Center system deal is a promising sign medical professionals still prefer the IQ+ from Butterfly. URMC plans to implement the Butterfly Blueprint at scale with both software and thousands of probes. In addition, the Petco Health and Wellness (WOOF) deal builds on the entry into the veterinary hospital business bringing imaging systems to pet care.

Butterfly has a cash balance of $360 million. The company can clearly invest for a few years to build the business, but an annual adjusted EBITDA loss equal to half the current cash balance isn't very ideal.

The digital health company has to hit the $27 million Q4'22 revenue target to make the story interesting. Butterfly would reach a 40% growth rate in this case to attract growth investors, but the company isn't forecast to cut losses in the process. The subscription model is definitely positive, but quarterly subscription revenues are a very meager at $4.6 million.

The distance between the operating losses and the revenue base requires Butterfly to perfectly hit targets and the company has already struggled mightily to meet targets and even grow since going public.

Takeaway

The key investor takeaway is that Butterfly is being squeezed here between competitive threats and tough financials. Investors are best off watching the story build from the sidelines and enter a position once the worst possible outcome of a major fundraise is eliminated. In the process, the new management team will either sink or swim allowing investors to buy Butterfly based on strength or completely avoid a sinking ship down the road.

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 19:43:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4523032-butterfly-network-not-ready-yet-hold
Killexams : Butterfly keyboard

(1) A laptop keyboard from IBM that was known for its ergonomics. See TrackWrite. See also Butterfly computer.

(2) An ultra-thin keyboard from Apple for its MacBook laptops starting in 2015. Users have experienced problems with the keyboard, including poorly responsive "sticky" keys, repeating characters or characters not appearing on screen. As a result, in 2018, Apple created a Keyboard Service Program to resolve issues in its own repair centers or to reimburse users who sometimes paid several hundred dollars to have their keyboards fixed. A class-action lawsuit for financial compensation from Apple is pending in seven states. In 2019, Apple reverted to its previous keyboard design.

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 16:48:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/butterfly-keyboard
Killexams : How you can help save the monarch butterfly

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Many states, including Michigan, have increased efforts to preserve butterfly habitats as part of an expanding push to save the monarch butterfly.

Dr. Karen Oberhauser, a professor of entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said loss of habitat, particularly milkweed, has led to a 90% decline in the monarch population.

Experts say people can help monarchs by avoiding pesticides, creating monarch habitats in their yards and planting butterfly-friendly gardens. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has more information on its website.

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 11:21:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.woodtv.com/news/michigan/how-you-can-help-save-the-monarch-butterfly/
Killexams : Shifting Habitats Affect the Butterfly Brain

Habitat differences help determine changes in the nervous system of tropical butterflies, scientists at the University of Bristol have found.

By analysing a tribe of Neotropical butterflies called Ithomiini, found in the Amazonian rainforests of eastern Ecuador, the researchers were able to show that habitat shifts - indicated by mimicry pattern - accurately predict changes in brain structure, particularly in areas of the butterfly brain which process visual information.

The findings, published today in Evolutionprovides strong evidence that these shifts in investment are adaptive and that local adaptation to distinct light environments can occur at very small ecological scales. 

Lead author Benito Wainwright of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences explained: “It was known that niche partitioning in complex habitats, like tropical rainforests, might pose perceptual challenges for the animals living in them.

“Work on fish in freshwater ecosystems had previously shown that dramatic changes in light availability with depth can result in impressive visual adaptations, but little was known whether evolution could select for such adaptations in a terrestrial environment like a tropical forest.”

Around 160 samples across 16 species were used making this one of the largest neuroanatomical comparisons undertaken in any insect.

Now the scientists are aiming to investigate sensory evolution across the entire community of butterflies to rigorously test whether convergence in habitat, predicts convergence in brain structure.

Mr Wainwright explained: “In other words, we want to know when faced with the same perceptual challenges, do species evolve sensory adaptations via similar mechanisms.

“We also wish to quantify the light environment within these forests to investigate to what degree small changes in forest structure affect the sensory environment.”    

Their study cuts across the disciplines of evolutionary biology, ecology and neurobiology and on a broad scale highlights the importance of visual ecology in adaptively shaping entire communities of closely related species in complex terrestrial environments.

He added: “Ithomiine butterflies play a crucial role in many tropical ecosystems and so understanding these evolutionary responses will allow us to make more accurate predictions on how sudden changes in the sensory environment might affect the composition of entire rainforests.

“Our work shows that the way species’ have evolved to process the world around them plays an important role in the way entire animal communities are structured. Natural selection can lead to adaptive change in brain structure over relatively short periods of evolutionary time.”

Reference: Wainwright JB, Montgomery SH. Neuroanatomical shifts mirror patterns of ecological divergence in three diverse clades of mimetic butterflies. Evolution. 2022. doi:10.1111/evo.14547

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Wed, 13 Jul 2022 21:07:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/shifting-habitats-affect-the-butterfly-brain-363678
Killexams : Public urged to join butterfly count to help action to save species

Small tortoiseshell butterflies have seen a decline of 79% since 1976 (Butterfly Conservation/PA) (PA Media)

Members of the public are being urged to join a national butterfly count, as experts warn that time is running out to save some species.

A exact report from wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation warned that more than two-fifths of British butterflies are threatened with extinction, in the face of climate change, pollution and loss of habitat.

But, with the right information and conservation action, species can be brought back from the brink, the charity said, and the citizen science survey it runs gives it important data on how the insects are faring.

Thanks to the wonderful British public, who take part in their thousands, the Big Butterfly Count is the largest natural history citizen science project involving insects in the world and provides us with a valuable snapshot of what is happening for butterflies across the whole of the UK

Dr Zoe Randle, Butterfly Conservation

The annual Big Butterfly Count can act as an “early warning system”, helping scientists understand how environmental changes are affecting insects, and gather data from areas that would otherwise be unrecorded, experts said.

And spending some time in nature to observe butterflies as part of the count can be good for people’s mental health, they added.

Butterfly Conservation warned it is not just rare species that are under threat.

Common butterflies – which are featured in the count – have seen significant declines, such as the small tortoiseshell, once found in gardens throughout the country, which has fallen by 79% since 1976.

Last year people submitted 150,000 sets of results to the Big Butterfly Count, more than ever before, but it also saw the lowest average number of butterflies logged since the scheme began 13 years ago.

While more people are taking part, fewer butterflies and moths seem to be seen, and Butterfly Conservation wants to know if that trend is continuing in 2022.

Dr Zoe Randle, senior surveys officer at Butterfly Conservation, said: “Thanks to the wonderful British public, who take part in their thousands, the Big Butterfly Count is the largest natural history citizen science project involving insects in the world and provides us with a valuable snapshot of what is happening for butterflies across the whole of the UK.

“It can act as an early-warning system, letting us know how various environmental changes are impacting insects, and allows us to gather vital data from places that would otherwise be totally unrecorded.”

She added: “We really need people’s help this year to help us figure out where our butterflies are and what we need to do to save them.”

Spending time in nature is hugely beneficial to our mental health. Watching butterflies for just 15 minutes can be a wonderful and calming experience

Dr Amir Khan, Butterfly Conservation ambassador

Butterfly Conservation ambassador Dr Amir Khan said: “Spending time in nature is hugely beneficial to our mental health.

“Just a short amount of time spent in the natural world can alleviate stress, and connecting with nature can help us feel happier and more energised.

“Watching butterflies for just 15 minutes can be a wonderful and calming experience.

“It is good for you as well as benefiting butterflies by helping Butterfly Conservation gather the important data they need to understand how to better protect these special insects. It is truly a win-win situation for all of us.”

To take part in the UK-wide Big Butterfly Count people just need to spend 15 minutes in an outdoor space during sunny conditions and count the types and amounts of butterflies and some day-flying moths they see.

This year’s count runs from July 15 to August 7 and people can find out more and take part by visiting https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/or downloading the free Big Butterfly Count app.

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 11:01:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://news.yahoo.com/public-urged-join-butterfly-count-230100257.html
Killexams : Hospice to hold ‘Butterfly Release’

As a way to remember and honor loved ones, Community Care Hospice and Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County will hold a Celebrating Life’s Stories® Butterfly Release on Saturday, Aug. 13, 10:30 a.m.-noon, at the Sabina Church of Christ (185 S. College St., Sabina).

As part of the event, participants will release live butterflies in memory of their loved ones.

“The Celebrating Life’s Stories® Butterfly Release is a beautiful way to remember and honor family members and friends who are no longer with us,” said Missi Knisley, executive director of Community Care Hospice and Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County. “We are honored and privileged to offer the Butterfly Release to members of our community.”

Registration is required. Butterflies are $12 each. Proceeds from the event will benefit patient care and services for Community Care Hospice and Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County.

The deadline to register is Wednesday, Aug. 3. Register online at: www.HospiceofFayetteCounty.org/Butterfly2022

For more information, please contact Stacy Havens at [email protected] or 740-335-0149.

Community Care Hospice and Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County are affiliates of Ohio’s Hospice. Ohio’s Hospice is a partnership of mission-driven, not-for-profit hospices in Ohio committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community-based hospices.

Wed, 13 Jul 2022 07:49:00 -0500 Record Herald en-US text/html https://www.recordherald.com/features/health/76664/hospice-to-hold-butterfly-release
Killexams : Mechanical Keyboards Are Over, This Device Has Won

The desk of any self-respecting technology enthusiast in the 2020s is not complete without a special keyboard of some sort, be it a vintage IBM Model M, an esoteric layout or form factor, or just a standard keyboard made with clacky mechanical switches. But perhaps we’ve found the one esoteric keyboard to rule them all, in the form of [HIGEDARUMA]’s 8-bit keyboard. You can all go home now, the competition has been well and truly won by this input device with the simplest of premises; enter text by setting the ASCII value as binary on a row of toggle switches. No keyboard is more retro than the one you’d find on the earliest microcomputers!

Jokes aside, perhaps this keyboard may be just a little bit esoteric for many readers, but it’s nevertheless a well-executed project. Aside from the row of binary inputs there is a keypress button which sends whatever the value is to the computer, and a stock button that allows for multiple inputs to be stored and sent as one. If you pause for a moment and think how often you use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V for example, this is an essential function. There’s more information on a Japanese website (Google Translate link), which reveals that under the hood it’s a Bluetooth device running on an ESP32.

We can imagine that with a bit of use it would be possible to memorize ASCII as binary pretty quickly, in fact we wouldn’t be at all surprised to find readers already possessing that skill. But somehow we can’t imagine it ever being a particularly fast text input device. Take a look for yourselves, it’s in the video below the break.

Fri, 15 Jul 2022 12:00:00 -0500 Jenny List en-US text/html https://hackaday.com/2022/06/24/mechanical-keyboards-are-over-this-device-has-won/
Killexams : Apple Sucks Now, Here’s A ThinkPad Buyer’s Guide

For the last decade, Macs have been running a UNIX-ish operating system on x86 processors. They’ve been fantastic developer’s machines, and the MacBook Pro is the de facto standard laptop issued to all developers, all hackathon attendees, and arguably, anyone who does real work with a computer.

This week, Apple unveiled the latest MacBook Pro and provided more evidence Steve Jobs actually knew what he was doing. Fifteen hundred bones will get you a MacBook Pro with a last-gen processor, an Escape key, a headphone jack, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports (with one port required for charging). The next model up costs $1800, ditches the Escape key for a dedicated emoji bar, and includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

In the past, I have defended people who choose MacBooks as their laptop of choice. A MacBook is a business-class laptop, and of course carries a higher price tag. However, Apple’s latest hardware release was underwhelming and overpriced. If you’re looking for a new laptop, you would do well to consider other brands. To that end, here’s a buyer’s guide to ThinkPads, currently the second most popular laptop I’ve seen with the dev/hacker/code cracker crowd.

The ThinkPad and Lenovo Weirdness

The ThinkPad was created in 1992 by IBM. In the first few years of development, three product lines came to the forefront. The 300 series ThinkPad was the bottom rung, the 500 series was middle of the road, and the 700 series was the best you could get. This is the same sort of thinking that went into marketing the BMW 3, 5, and 7-series. This is same marketing that went into naming the PowerBook 100, 140, and 170.

Here are the names Apple still uses for their laptops (and yes, these are the genuine model names):

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with 2.0GHz Processor and 256GB Storage
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.9 GHz Processor and 256GB Storage
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.9GHz Processor and 512GB Storage

The ThinkPad naming convention makes marketing easier, product differentiation simpler, and by comparison shows us Apple without Jobs the first time was better than Apple without Jobs the second time.

In the world of ThinkPads, this tradition continues. In 2005, IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo, who now maintains the space-grade reputation of the ThinkPad brand. However, not all ThinkPads are created equal. The T, X, and P series are the only ThinkPads you should care about. While many Lenovo laptops have been the target of several security concerns and 0-days such as ThinkPwn, laptops not bearing T, X, or P-series label are disproportionately affected. Not only are the lower-grade ThinkPads (E and L-series) shipped with more crapware, the construction of the three premier lines of ThinkPads is much more robust.

With that said, here’s a buyer’s guide for the most common use cases we’ve seen.

I need a burner laptop for post-apocalypticia, or one Stallman can use

The Lenovo x220t. Image: Lenovo
The Lenovo x220t. Image: Lenovo

You have two choices: the T400 or X200. These are old laptops, yes, but thanks to Intel’s Management Engine this is the existing ThinkPad you can use. If you’re going this far back, install Libreboot, and disregard everything said on the Libreboot mailing list for the last few months.

If you only need a burner laptop and don’t need GPL coursing through every vein in your body, you’re getting an X220. With the X220, you’ll have a slightly more modern ThinkPad, but still one that can handle basic tasks, development, and pretty much everything that isn’t video, gaming, or photo editing. This is the Mad Max laptop, available for about $200 through eBay or the like. Install an SSD, and you have a perfectly capable daily driver. The X220 can be used with coreboot, and the X230 (the one with the downgraded keyboard), is now an active area of research for the leading ThinkPad expert on the planet.

I need to replace my 2013 MacBook Pro

Here’s the breakdown of the ThinkPad product lines. The X-series is the ultraportable line of ThinkPads. The T-series is the middle of the road – slightly larger than the X-series, but a little more capable. The P-series (formerly W-series) the portable workstation class of ThinkPads.

Lenovo X260. Image: Lenovo
Lenovo X260. Image: Lenovo

Taking the series as the first letter of the model name, next we can consider the screen size. The X260 has a 12″ screen. The T460 has a 14″ screen. The P50 has a 15″ screen, and the P70 has a 17″ screen. Obviously, the first number of the model name designates the screen size.

With that breakdown out of the way, here’s a decent buyer’s guide: If you want an ultraportable, buy an X260. If you want discrete graphics, get a T460s. If you do not have back problems yet and want a portable workstation, get a P50. Need a laptop with a Xeon and ECC memory? That exists. Within the X, T, and P lines of ThinkPads, there’s something for everybody. Don’t max out OEM RAM — just buy another stick. The same theory goes with SSDs and hard drives.

I need to edit video or do other work that is CPU and memory intensive

A laptop is not for you. Here’s PCPartPicker. Build your own desktop. It’s like Lego, but for adults.

This is a weird one for us

With the exception of 3D printers, Hackaday is surprisingly reticent to provide suggestions on consumer electronics. That said, our experience in planning so many meetups, attending so many hackathons, and chilling out at so many conferences gives us a unique insight into laptop buying trends. Overall, the Hackaday community is split 60:30 between MacBooks and ThinkPads, with the remainder being taken up by rooted Chromebooks or some truly terrible Black Friday specials.

Although an endless wave of posts of the latest and shiniest product are highly popular and profitable from an editorial standpoint, this post is an outlier. We’re not going to become the next Uber Consumer Blog wasting your time with product announcements.

However, Apple’s latest MacBook announcement missed the mark and you won’t find many people saying otherwise. ThinkPads have excellent Linux support, and *nix better than Cygwin is coming to Windows. A portable computer is mandatory these days, and we humbly offer our experience in the hacker’s second choice of laptop.

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 12:00:00 -0500 Brian Benchoff en-US text/html https://hackaday.com/2016/10/28/apple-sucks-now-heres-a-thinkpad-buyers-guide/
Killexams : What Strategists Can Learn from Sartre

Photograph by Fredrik Broden

I remember the day I realized the world was getting weird — so strange and unpredictable that conventional approaches to market forecasting would not work. It was an otherwise ordinary day in May 1985. I was part of a team at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) that was analyzing the results of a national survey of American customer attitudes. Our program was called Values and Lifestyles (VALS), and it was a well-regarded, innovative breakdown of the purchasing public into nine different lifestyles roughly based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: people whose lives revolved around survival, belonging, achieving, the search for peak experience, and so on.

With the help of Simmons Market Research, we had correlated different purchasing patterns with the different lifestyles. To date, VALS had been a sustained success. If suburban women between the ages of 25 and 45 driving minivans reliably and regularly chose Caffeine Free Diet Coke over Classic, whereas young males between 15 and 25 reliably went for the sugar and caffeine jolt, then the marketers at Coca-Cola would know how to spin the ads they put on MTV differently from the ads they placed on Lifetime. The theory and practice of market segmentation had been evolving for 20 years. In fact, it had been growing hand in hand with the U.S. economy as it made the transition from mass manufacturing for a mass market during the middle of the 20th century toward a more segmented market that could be described by our nine lifestyle types — nay, even, stereotypes.

On that day in May 1985, however, I realized that the VALS system was losing its predictive power. People were no longer behaving true to type. Women were shopping at Bloomingdale’s one day, Wal-Mart the next. The segment we called Achievers started behaving like Experientials. Some men were behaving like bankers by day, punkers by night. This was bad news for clients who were trying to use market segmentation to target the different stereotypes. But it was good news for the human spirit, because what this tendency amounted to was human freedom flexing her muscles. People were behaving less predictably. They were defying stereotypes.

The Unpredictable Economy
Because I had been trained as a philosopher, I immediately knew what was happening. American customers, without direct influence from the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre or Martin Heidegger, had nonetheless discovered existential freedom. They would no longer be predictable. And indeed, customers around the world have been unpredictable ever since. No general system of market segmentation or analysis has managed to capture their patterns of behavior in any reliable way.

This realization has implications that far transcend marketing, which, typically, commences once a company has identified a strategy and developed products or services for a defined customer base. For corporations, keeping up with customers who are less predictable than consumers of old requires a capacity for innovation. Where the old economy relied on mass production to meet universal needs, the new economy demands customized innovation to satisfy an endless range of wants and whims.

The old production economy was predictable because it operated in the realm of necessity; it produced goods and services people needed, and those were relatively stable. The new economy plays in the realm of freedom; it produces goods and services for a customer who is not bound by needs. The old economy called for strategies built by engineers who could calculate according to necessary laws. The new economy calls for strategies created by existentialists who understand freedom. Most important of all, the old economy operated at a regular pace, in the clockwork time of industrial production. The new economy lurches forward and backward, in some new kind of time that was anticipated, once again, by the existential philosophers.

We’re all in existential time these days. It’s not just that we’re facing a more unpredictable future; the pace and rhythm of events is also increasingly variable and unpredictable. Especially since September 11, 2001, the corporate planning horizon has widened to embrace fundamental uncertainty spanning life-or-death, boom-or-bust dimensions. This is not all bad for the human spirit — if a wider horizon reminds us of our freedom.

Just as existential philosophy emerged in Europe between the two world wars, when life got weird for individuals and the old verities no longer seemed to hold true, so existential strategy emerged during the final decades of the 20th century, as life was getting weird for organizations. Just as individuals reached for an existential philosophy that was adequate to a new sense of freedom, so corporations are now looking for the kinds of strategic tools that can accommodate real uncertainty. An existential economy, in short, demands existential strategy.

Existentialism 101
But what does that mean? For starters, existentialism is a philosophy that stresses the importance and robustness of individual choice. In a world where it sometimes seems as though there are too many choices, and too little authoritative guidance in making those choices, existentialism provides a viable approach to strategy — perhaps the only viable approach. In this article, I’d like to offer an elevator-ride introduction to the existentialist philosophy, then call out a series of specific ideas from the writings of the existentialists to show how they can help us understand our business realities and decisions on a practical day-to-day level.

In Silicon Valley, there’s a saying: “Who needs a futurist to tell us about the future? We’re building it!” This is pure existentialism. The point isn’t so much that the pace of change is increasing — Alvin Toffler’s argument in Future Shock (Amereon Ltd., 1970). Instead it’s calling into question who’s in charge — God, haphazard fate, or human invention? The existentialists have something to tell us about taking charge of our own future.

The term existentialism gains its basic meaning from its contrast with essentialism. The ancient philosophers, particularly Aristotle, understood change as biological growth. A favorite example was the acorn turning into an oak. It can’t do anything else. It is the essence of an acorn to become an oak. It cannot choose to become a maple or an elm. Its oak essence precedes its existence. First acorn, then oak.

Impose this model of growth and change on human beings and you get Plato’s theory of gold, silver, and bronze souls — souls slated, from birth, to fulfill a predetermined path. Part of the education system in Plato’s Republic involves a series of standardized national tests for separating the aristocratic guardians from the lowly worker bees. This was the first articulation of what we now know as a tracking system. You’re born bronze, silver, or gold. The tests will reveal your essence. And, as with the high-stakes exams that characterize the French system of education, once your essence is revealed, there’s very little likelihood that your existence will ever escape your class.

Such essentialism sounds downright un-American … and it is. If your essence precedes your existence, then all you can do is play out the pattern of your essence. The passage of time, to an essentialist, is like the unrolling of an Oriental rug whose every stitch, every line, every pattern was first obscured within the rolled-up rug, and then revealed as the past moved into the present.

The future, according to essentialist philosophy, is like a rug as yet unrolled: The pattern is in there; you just can’t see it yet. And as with most Oriental rugs, its pattern is probably repetitive. Prior to the focus on history and evolution by figures like Vico, Herder, Hegel, and Darwin, “the future” was seen through essentialist eyes. The very word future connoted a stretch of time that would contain more of the same, occasionally better, occasionally worse, as the eternal cycle of generation and corruption, rise and fall, repeated itself age after age.

In such tradition-bound societies, the elders know best because they know the past. Filial piety is a core value of Confucianism. Sons follow the occupations of their fathers. Tradition rules. The past rules the present. Like the pattern of the seasons or the constellations in the heavens, the basic order of the universe is not subject to biological evolution or historical change.

This sense of time and order remained sacrosanct until the works of Georg Hegel and Charles Darwin gained influence. These two writers, though very different from each other, together were the most significant sources of existential thought; only when their work was accepted was essentialism’s repetitive and cyclical image of time displaced by a linear, historical, evolutionary time that allowed for the emergence of something genuinely new under the sun.

Suddenly, humanity had a future — in the sense in which existentialists think of the future, as an open-ended, indeterminate field of untried possibilities. For existentialists, existence precedes essence. It’s not that no one or nothing has an essence. It’s just that essence, for free human beings, anyway, is achieved rather than prescribed. You become the results of the decisions you make. You don’t find yourself, as those suffering “identity crises” try to do. You make yourself by making decisions. You’re not just the result of the genes you inherited or the circumstances of your birth. Of course genes and family background make a difference, but what you choose to do with them is subject to existential freedom.

Consider the way that time is measured, and the way we normally experience it. Ever since the invention of the mechanical clock, people have conceived of time as passing in the kind of even blocks represented on Cartesian graph paper. For rocket scientists plotting a trajectory to the moon, this model of time might be the most appropriate. But as both Heidegger and Sartre noted, this kind of mathematized, regular tick, tick, tick of a mechanical clock contradicts the experience of a truly human temporality. Our minds experience time as expanding and contracting, quickening with excitement, slowing with boredom. There is a lived contrast between long durations and punctuating epiphanies. Things last a while, then they change, and there are significant choices to be made at the cusps and bifurcations.

Moments of Urgency
Such punctuations call for strategies developed prior to the moment of urgency. And as the world gets more strange, these moments will be more frequent. Scenario planning gives executives a way to rehearse different futures in the relative calm of a meeting room rather than in a “war room” set up for emergencies. Better to craft a strategy during the calm between the cusps. Once you’ve rehearsed different futures in the form of vivid scenarios, then you’re ready for the one that rolls out in fact. And even better: Once you’ve scoped out a range of alternative futures, you’re in a better position to nudge reality in a direction you’d prefer. (See “How Scenario Planning Explains Uncertainty,” at the end of this article.)

A future filled with new possibilities presents a backdrop for planning that is very different from a future that is a reshuffling of the same old same old. Reshufflings should follow laws that allow for prediction according to rules that cover every possibility. A future filled with genuinely new possibilities might not even be describable using categories and metrics that cover what has occurred before. How could a 19th-century scientist anticipate, much less predict, prime time, venture capital, gigabits-per-second, butterfly ballots, fuel cells, genetic engineering, cellular telephony, and so on?

Once you appreciate this fundamental shift in the nature of “futurity,” you are in a better position to appreciate the need for existential strategy. Once you abandon an essentialism within which the future is, in principle, predictable, and adopt an existentialism within which the future is, in principle, unpredictable, you’re bound to need a robust set of guidelines for making decisions that will be effective in any of a range of futures that might unfold.

As a philosophy, existentialism stresses that human beings have almost unlimited choice. The constraints we feel from authority, society, other people, morality, and God are powerful largely because we have internalized them — we carry the constraints around within us.

As a result, sometimes existentialists get a bad rap for preaching nihilism and meaninglessness — free fall instead of freedom. Everything is possible (they’re accused of preaching), and therefore human beings can ignore morality and duty. Thus, Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God. For Smerdyakov, the nihilist in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, the death of God meant that mere anarchy was loosed upon the earth. But Nietzsche himself distinguished between a nihilism of strength and a nihilism of weakness. For the weak, the death of God means that all is permitted. For the strong, the death of God does not mean we are doomed to despair and meaninglessness. Instead, we have the opportunity to create our own lives and our own conscious sense of responsibility. Nietzsche said the only God he could worship would be a God who could dance.

This turns out to be very close to the role of managers, particularly senior executives, in large complex organizations. They don’t take on the role of God, but they do choose to define morality and its consequences for their organizations. In their classic management text In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (Harper & Row, 1982), Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. argued that the job of the manager is “meaning making.” This challenge to make meaning in an otherwise meaningless environment is itself made to order for the existential strategist.

How, then, does one “make meaning” for an entire organization — and ensure that the choices will turn out better than if that organization simply followed in old established pathways? The existential philosophers crafted some ideas that have fairly immediate relevance to strategic practice: finitude, being-toward-death, care, thrownness, and authenticity. (See “Five Principles of Existential Strategy,” below.) Let’s explore each and its application to existential strategy.

Five Principles of Existential Strategy

  1. Finitude. You can’t be all things to all people. If you’re not saying “no” to some possibilities, then you’re not acting strategically.
  2. Being-Toward-Death. No one is too big to fail, to die, to go bankrupt. Gliding on momentum can lead to
    a crash.
  3. Care. Define your interests more precisely than ROI or return to shareholders. If you don’t know where you stand, you’ll fall for anything.
  4. Thrownness. You have a past; you have experiences and core competencies. Know them, use them, and don’t forget them.
  5. Authenticity. Don’t be bound by your past. Feel free to reinvent yourself and your company for an uncertain future.

Finitude
Finitude is the existential principle closest to the conventional notion of corporate strategy, making hard decisions because you can’t do everything.

Indeed, in this mortal life, you may be able to accomplish almost anything, but you cannot do everything. There isn’t time. If you choose to be a butcher, you generally can’t simultaneously be a baker and a candlestick maker. Understanding finitude helps the existential strategist focus on the trade-offs organizations face. You can go for lowest cost or highest quality, but rarely both at once. There are choices to be made. Not all good things go together. If you’re not saying no, you’re not doing strategy. If you’re not saying no, you’re not acting strategically.

The word decision derives from the Latin for “cut off.” IBM made a strategic decision to get out of the consumer business and concentrate on services to businesses. Hewlett-Packard Company cut Agilent Technologies Inc. adrift because measuring and testing technology was not its core competence. When corporate raiders make a hostile takeover and then break up a business and sell off its parts, their reasoning often has to do with an evaluation that shows the segments are worth more on their own than as parts of a confused whole in which executives prove unable to make tough decisions.

I saw the power of finitude when working with wealthy foundations, which, like government agencies, rarely feel the risk of failure. At first glance, the job of foundation managers looks easy: Just hand out a pot of money. At closer range, the challenge is harder: how to Strengthen the world without squandering resources or inducing dependencies that do more harm than good.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Mich., has as one of its objectives the improvement of the city of Flint — a clear goal that nonetheless leaves plenty of latitude for choices by the trustees. After spending millions in the 1980s on what was to be a destination resort called AutoWorld, they watched in horror as people somehow chose Disneyworld for their vacations instead.

In the early 1990s, the managers of the Mott Foundation engaged my colleagues and me to develop a set of scenarios showing different possible futures for Flint — a city that had been badly stung by Michael Moore’s movie Roger and Me. The upshot of the exercise was a commitment to make Flint a better place to raise children — a manageable goal that gave a new focus to the foundation’s finite grant making. Looking out for the kids was both consistent with the original deed of the gift by the Mott family and in keeping with current needs in Flint. The city had been a great place to raise a family back when rust-belt manufacturing produced a living wage. But the new economy had cut many of the old jobs, and now it would take a bold initiative to make the city a better place for kids once again.

Being-Toward-Death
If you think your life is not finite, if you think you’re immortal, then you may act as if you’ve got time for everything. If you follow the existentialists in dwelling on death, however, each day of your life will gain both preciousness and a sense of existential urgency.

The National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest labor union — thought by some to be immovable, immortal, and unchangeable — benefited from an imaginative kick in the pants from a scenario entitled “One Flight Up.” That scenario told a story in which the NEA’s building in Washington, D.C., had been sold to Sylvan Learning Systems, which leased back to the NEA a small suite of offices located “one flight up” from the main entrance. After absorbing this scenario, the president of the NEA was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “If we don’t change the way we do business, we’ll be out of business in 10 years.” This statement, his colleagues declared, would have been unthinkable a few years earlier, before he’d looked death in the face.

The union did change. Under its next president, Bob Chase, the NEA adopted “new unionism,” a strategy focused less on wages and terms of employment and more on helping its members meet the challenges they were facing in the classroom.

Asking folks to look death in the eye is not easy. Being-toward-bankruptcy is no fun. Xerox needed a vivid scenario painting a picture of a world where the copier would converge with the scanner and computer printer, and the copier business would go away. We painted such a scenario … but it wasn’t scary enough to motivate change, and their denial of death led to real bankruptcy.

BP, which once stood for British Petroleum, looked down the cellar stairs at a world “Beyond Petroleum,” the new meaning for its initials. Scenarios that mimic being-toward-death can function as a kind of anticipatory disaster relief. A near-death experience lived in imagination can draw forth the passion that exists underneath smug self-satisfaction; that kind of motivation is needed to take the actions necessary to avoid real death. It can make managers care — a relatively weak word. The German equivalent, Sorge, has more urgency to it. It means to really care, to provide a damn. It means something close to passion.

Care
Heidegger focused on care as a feature that differentiates human beings from purely cognitive, Cartesian creatures. Sure, we think, we calculate, we cogitate. But we do so in a way that is different from how computers do it. My computer doesn’t provide a damn. It doesn’t care. And so much the better: It is unbiased; it is unswayed by desire; it can do the wholly rational, objective calculations I want from a computer. I, on the other hand, have biases. I have desires. And so much the better again: for my desiring, my caring, gives meaning to my life. A knife is good for cutting. A computer is good for calculating. Each has a function. What am I good for? If the meaning of my life can be reduced to the kind of function that defines the essence of a knife or a computer, then my life is reduced to that of a functionary. I become a tool in someone else’s drama, a mere means to their ends, not my own.

Often organizations, especially large, long-standing ones, need a greater sense of urgency. It’s not just a matter of giving a damn about reducing time to market for new products. Sometimes a corporation must reinvent itself. Sometimes a company must break free of its past. Once upon a time Motorola made car radios. When Robert Galvin wanted to manufacture semiconductors, some of his managers thought he was nuts. But Bob Galvin, son of Motorola founder Paul Galvin, cared enough to keep his father’s legacy alive even after the car radio business declined. Later they reinvented Motorola yet again as a manufacturer of cell phones and pagers. With Bob’s son Chris retiring as chairman and CEO, the company is set to reinvent itself once again. In a world that’s gone from slow and predictable to fast and perplexing, you have to be free to reinvent yourself … or you die.

Thrownness
Of course you can’t reinvent yourself as anything whatsoever. Companies have histories. IBM doesn’t sell dog food. Sara Lee isn’t set up to manufacture computers. Heidegger called this nondeterministic conditioning Geworfenheit, or thrownness. We each landed on the earth somewhere, not nowhere. We each inherit much of who we are from our parents, our culture, or the community in which we find ourselves. Even the entrepreneur finds the second year of her new company “thrown” in a certain direction by her first year. Right-angle turns are tough. Momentum has its merits. But even for the largest corporations, straight-line extrapolation from the past into the future is a poor guide for strategic planning.

Thrownness is not just a constraint. Upside possibilities beckon the existential strategist. Aspirational scenarios showing rewarding opportunities can complement descriptive scenarios painting risks. When executives at Motorola sought our help to update their China strategy, we realized they’d been coasting on momentum. A hard look at both downside and upside scenarios led them to boost their investment, claim greater market share, and solidify their leadership position. The sheer size of the opportunities that exist in China are enough to dwarf the imaginations of planners coasting on extrapolations from the past. It takes a dancing existentialist to see such vast possibilities.

Authenticity
Authenticity is a way of being true to yourself, but the concept is tricky because, for the existentialist, being true to yourself can’t be defined as being true to your essence. Nor can it be reduced to fulfilling a function. Authenticity demands fidelity to your past, but also openness to possibilities in the future — not just one possibility (that would be a necessity), but several possibilities. Authenticity is being true to both your thrownness and your freedom. It’s making choices among possibilities and taking responsibility for your decisions.

While consulting at Motorola, I also had an opportunity to work with the company’s New Enterprises group. Their mandate was to come up with new business ideas that were close enough to Motorola’s core competencies to be plausible yet that still fell outside existing lines of business. Threading this needle is what authenticity is all about. If you try too hard to be true to your essence — your core competence — then you deny your freedom. But if you pretend you’re free to do absolutely anything — if you forget your thrownness — then you’re in free fall. Motorola’s New Enterprises group had to thread this needle, so they took a hard look at how their competence in information technology could be applied to a new and different domain: the creation, storage, and conservation of electric energy.

Neither for companies nor for individuals is the future completely indeterminate. Neither companies nor individuals are utterly free. We carry our pasts like tails we cannot lose. And that’s a relief, because we don’t want to begin each day from scratch. The skills we have learned, the competencies we have achieved, provide direction and power to be used in the present as we carve the near edge of the future.

The gist of this article has moved mainly from the philosophy of existentialism toward its implications for corporate strategic planning. Here at the end, it’s worth reflecting on the resonance that resounds from the soundness of existential strategy in the corporate world and its implications for the people who then learn about existential time from the practice of scenario planning and existential strategy in organizations. The practice of existential strategy can make us more authentically human. Once existential philosophy has been demystified by its translation into the pragmatic world of corporate strategy, its validity gains added power in enabling each of us, as individuals, to live lives of deeper authenticity and freedom.

How Scenario Planning Explains Uncertainty

Scenario planning is not the only tool of the existential strategist, but it is the preeminently appropriate tool for dealing with existential freedom. Scenario planning first flourished in the context of large corporations such as Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, businesses whose planning horizon was so long that predictions based on extrapolations from the past would almost certainly be outrun by a fast-changing reality.

Royal Dutch/Shell did well with scenario planning in the 1980s. When other oil companies were planning to increase prices for oil, on the basis of extrapolations from the price increases in 1973 and 1979, the planners at Shell developed a range of scenarios, narrative extrapolations from knowable potentialities, that included both price increases and scenarios for falling prices — a thought that was unthinkable to planners at the other oil majors. When oil prices crashed in 1986, Shell was the best prepared of the global oil companies, and its fortunes rose accordingly.

Since the 1980s, scenario planning has been embraced by many other companies, so many that, by the turn of the millennium, scenario planning ranked as the No. 1 planning tool among corporations polled by the Corporate Strategy Board. Of course, this is good news for scenario planners. But it is also good news for everyone else. Scenario planning opens up a range of possibilities, for good and ill, much broader and wider than traditional tools that strive for a single right answer. Scenario planning helps us to entertain worst-case scenarios, as responsible managers must. Just as Heidegger argued that a sense of our own mortality can sharpen our sense of the fragility of our assumptions, so the development of best- and worst-case scenarios can awaken us to a sense of the preciousness of life.

By encouraging thinking about a divergent range of possibilities rather than a consensus forecast, scenario planning can draw on both the motivation that comes from a fear of vividly depicted failure and the inspiration that comes from a skillfully drawn success. Upside scenarios can raise the sights of an organization mired in stagnation. Where essentialism condemns us to more of the same old thing, upside scenarios instill a sense of existential urgency about higher possibilities.

Upside scenarios can function like the “inner game of golf” or “inner skiing.” Once you have mentally rehearsed the right swing or the perfect turn, you are more likely to be able to hit that drive or manage that mogul. There’s a lot to be said for the idea of mind over matter. But before the mind can steer matter in the right direction, the appropriate image needs to be framed as vividly as possible, whether it’s a golf swing, a ski turn, or a new success strategy. Upside scenarios can do for companies what a Tiger Woods tape can do for golfers.

— J.O.

Reprint No. 03405

Author Profiles:


James Ogilvy (
jay_ogilvy@GBN.com) cofounded Global Business Network (GBN) in 1988. He is the author of Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society, and the Sacred (Oxford, 1975), Creating Better Futures: Scenario Planning as a Tool for a Better Tomorrow (Oxford, 2002), and, with Peter Schwartz, China’s Futures: Scenarios for the Fastest Growing Economy, Ecology, and Society (Jossey-Bass, 2000).
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