Saturday, September 22, 2007

A new game

Americans like to take risk. In fact, the whole aura (or ought we say illusion) of capitalism is that those who take risks get the rewards. Everywhere we see people taking risks. Yet, a whole lot of those have someone to bail them out when things go awry.

People who venture into the wilds expect that a rescue team will come to their aid, if needed. Actually, insurance protects against reasonable risk. Wall Street (several definitions here, but think of those who get $100,000s [multiply] based upon questionable evaluations but who do not pay back any of this when things go awry later (you know, a plane flies for years - those who design and build the thing are on the hook for the longer time - why do we let the financial types take short-term profits?) has the Fed that can bail it out even to the extent of rewarding lapses into the 'moral hazard' area (there have been many instances of this, folks, and recent events continue the trend).

What if there were no one to bail you out when you got into trouble? Many have experienced such a situation. And, one of the black marks on the human race might be that too many are still experiencing this.

Okay. To back up a minute. More than Americans take risks; it's human nature. The main problem is that undue risk can lead to waste and other things that are not desired. Someone pays for rescuing people from their risky behavior. But, who is to define what risks apply where and to what extent?

Risks and their types are many. Test pilots, and similar roles, take calculated risks. Some say that getting up in the morning is risky. But, even staying in bed can be problematic from several sides, such as health (bed sores, eventually), environment (many example here), etc. So risk is something that we manage.

The flying public doesn't want risks of a certain type, so there is a general interest in things like a new approach to flying. Some changes, like process [supply chain] or material [composite], are not as problematic as they would seem, as we can test these things, assuming several things: for one, that the related time lines are not being truncated inordinately.

Time? Yes, it is important in this situation. There is more of an abundance of this with the proper perspective, notwithstanding marketing pressures. When time becomes short, risk can rise without a balancing act, such as a corresponding diminishing of the mission.

The bigger issue may be that certain frameworks [modeling], which we are putting into place as proxies of something that is real, may have taken more prominence than might be warranted (we'll look at the appeal of abstraction and talk about how risky that can be).

Forgive the metaphor, but expansions upon a house of cards is shaky from any perspective. How so? We will be trying to explain this, hopefully with some success.

'Game-changing' of any type, carries risk. A company risking itself is what freedom allows (and the Board of Directors, and hopefully the investors, and ... --- you get the drift?). That any of that risk falls out to the financial types; well, we can only hope it's done smartly.

That any of that risk falls out to the flying public is not acceptable. Yet, there will continue to be risks even after all tests are done.

Has anyone put these together in a coherent, and readily accessible, fashion? Perhaps, they ought to be made more visible in this current context.


01/19/2011 -- Update1 and Update2. The focus now will be mostly the idiots of economics/finance.

09/14/2009 -- We'll need to look at UUUN, as a framework.

01/28/2009 -- Earned value issues, and finance's basis, continue to be of interest.

11/01/2008 -- Much has happened with regard to the schedule, the suppliers, and more. Boeing announced some insights about its 787 planning. Before that, the idiocy of a truncated (abbreviated) test cycle was changed; reminder: at this point last year (we can pinpoint the specific dates), there was still some talk about delivering in May 2008.

Modified: 01/19/2011

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