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Randy Lariar
Randy Lariar
So newsletters are a thing again. No harm in giving it a try!

Patterns
My twenty-two month-old son’s daily growth amazes me. He has taught me about the centrality of patterns in our lives.
Patterns are one of the first things to develop in a child. Detecting faces (two spots (eyes) on top; up spot (mouth) on bottom) is one of the only things a newborn knows how to do. Around week 8, babies tend to get extra fussy due to the flood of patterns their brains begin to understand.
In what feels like 15 minutes later, babies become toddlers. They can recognize colors, shapes, letters, words, music, and Sesame Street characters. All based on patterns. My son delights in calling out letters he finds all over the house. Any face that has two eyes, one mouth, and red fur leads to an immediate shout of “ELMO!” I’m proud and in awe.
Patterns are central to my career. Data analysis is all about pattern matching. Every step in a transformation. Every line of code. These all instruct the machines about how to match meaningful patterns in data. Learning (human and machine) involves repeat exposure to patterns.
Strategy work is also driven by patterns and frameworks.
  • How to think about businesses and processes
  • How to engage with clients and stakeholders
  • What to do when trouble comes along
  • What kinds of solutions to propose
  • How to write a presentation or an essay…
Thinking in patterns is like seeing the Matrix. You can predict what is going to happen based on what already has. You can solve old problems with “new patterns” identified in different domains.
Good writing is an exercise in pattern sharing. I’m posting observations that are interesting to me. I plan to learn from the patterns of my own repeat posting and reader feedback. How will I know what is useful and entertaining to you? I’ll look for patterns.
Going Fast is More Fun!
“I feel the need… the need for speed.”
This Top Gun quote calls to me. I love moving fast. I’m a nerd about planes and space travel. I drive with a bit of a lead foot. I get energy being around high-speed environments and people.
Speed concentrates and simplifies.
When you are moving fast, small changes can have big consequences. A few degrees wrong on a steering wheel at speed can cause a very bad day.
Speed demands focus. Speed drags you into a flow state. Great ideas and execution happen at speed. When the world rushes by the details blur until only the important remains. Turn here - avoid this hazard - pass this obstacle.
Speed means playing offense rather than defense. Our brains seek to avoid risk and protect from loss. But you must take shots on goal to win. Fast play opens possibilities on the field of life. An extra outreach or quick push to over-deliver can make an outsized impact.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Old stoic quotes are cliche in 2021 because they’re true. Preparation means being able to go fast. It means being ready to pounce on opportunities when they pop up. Lucky people move fast.
Cultivate a speed habit. Do small things fast. Don’t sweat the details. In most of life and work, done is better than perfect. Build your capacity for more big wins.
Go fast.
Have fun.
Get lucky.
It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission
It is better to do things than wait to do them. Reading and learning is inferior to doing. This is as true for data science as it is for improving writing.
It is also better to set our own agenda and not be beholden to others. Collaboration is critical for success. But group members often look at each other for social signals to act.
Evolution has programmed our brains to be risk adverse. Experiments have shown that we would prefer to avoid losing a dollar versus gaining two. Likewise, we tend to prefer inaction and the security of stasis.
If you act without permission, it might offend some. It will disturb the status quo. It is important to have good intentions. Make your intentions clear and apologize for any disrespect. Acting first is not about anyone else. It is about our selves.
The closer you can get to real action, the more you will learn. The more you learn, the better able you are to make good decisions.
Action produces information.
I want to be honest; this is something that is not natural for me. I am writing these words as much as a reminder to myself as it is guidance for you.
The alternative to action is anxiety and fear. These come from a lack of information. It is a cycle. Fear causes delay. Delay deprives information. Low information leads to inaction. The cycle repeats and intensifies.
The only way out is through. Taking action. Learning. Repeating.
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Randy Lariar
Randy Lariar @lariar

Data & Strategy Nerd 🐦 tech / business / dad jokes / etc 💼 Analytics + Consulting to Fin Services 👶 Proud (tired) toddler father

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