Not Just Another Rant About TSA

No, this is a theoretically based rant about TSA. My students can get credit for reading it!...

The Future Of Branding

A research firm has just bestowed the title “world’s most valuable insurance brand” on a...

Our University President Was Sooo Stupid….

How stupid was he? He shut down the Center for Groundwater Research. I quote him: “You don’t...

The Magic Number 3? Maybe Not.

Whenever there’s a task to be done or governance to be exercised, we tend to organize for it...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Hontas Farmerpicture for Vladimir Kalitvianskipicture for Helen Barrattpicture for Wes Sturdevant
Fred PhillipsRSS Feed of this column.

After a dozen years as a market research executive, Fred Phillips was professor, dean, and vice provost at a variety of universities in the US, Europe, and South America. He is a Senior Fellow of... Read More »


A chain saw, sporting all the safety interlocks, might still kill you if you use it carelessly. You’re self-confident and you suffer the usual optimism bias.

Books Small PictureThese tips will help researchers for whom English is a second language, and who work at universities and research institutes where the international publishing culture is still young. 

Facebook traffic and news items tell us a lot of Americans of northern European extraction are anxious and even fearful about the prospect that White Americans will soon be a minority. A subset seems further offended by court decisions bestowing civil rights on gay people. Another subset is inflamed over removals of the Confederate battle flag from public spaces. Then there are environmental regulations that seem to snatch job opportunities from an already embattled middle class – and other kinds of federal regulation that have set some Whites on anti-government, secessionist, or survivalist paths.

In Akira Kurosawa's timeless 1950 masterpiece (

A true story. To protect the innocent – and the writer – I’ll use no names.

The president of a large, multi-national engineering and construction firm decided to attract more contracts by reducing customers’ risks. A sound decision, yes? 

It was what he did (which was to offer fixed-price contracts instead of cost-plus contracts) and how he did it (by developing his people and by continuous process improvement) that got him fired - even though the move was showing every sign of success.

So why was he dismissed? The answer lies in that ol’ stereotype of the corporation as an externality-generating machine.

You may find these remarks cynical. You may find them helpful.