Sunday, January 13, 2008

My new camping toy: a Zero degree bag from North Face

From time to time I'll go snowshoeing with my buddy Michael in the Sierras. Some trips will be windy, others will be quite cold. Based on my experience on that last one...I decided to get a new bag. A trip yesterday to REI (weekend clearance sale) led me to this Zero degree synthetic from North Face, aptly named Snowshoe. Thanks to all those REI gift cards that I received for Xmas, it was almost free. Thanks everyone!

I'm like a kid with a new toy with purchases like this, so after bringing it home, I immediately tried it out. It worked well...too well...I was sweating in about 5 minutes. PERFECT!

This is my new snowshoeing/camping in cold weather bag. I'll keep the 20 degree bags for regular camping trips.

Friday, January 11, 2008

IFTF is hiring: Research Manager—Health/Health Care Emphasis

Let me know if you are interested!



Research Manager—Health/Health Care Emphasis

Position Title and reporting relationship

The Research Manager reports to the Director of the IFTF Health Horizons Program. No subordinate staff report to this position.

position summary

This is a high-level position charged with doing qualitative and quantitative research across a range of topics, but with special emphasis on issues pertaining to health and health care—the health care delivery system, health technologies, pharmaceuticals and genomics, public policy, health care consumers, and health behaviors. The focus is on discontinuities, intersections, drivers, and barriers shaping the future of health and health care in a global context. (See for the Institute for the Future and the Health Horizons Program descriptions.)

the ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will have undergraduate and graduate degrees in a combination of life science and social science and possibly a Master’s or PhD in a related field. He/she will have worked in the health care field with research or public policy experience. This person will be able to understand technology, its applications in health and health care and resulting societal and business implications.


Working within a team environment the primary responsibilities of the Research Manager are as follows:

  1. He/she makes suggestions for Program direction and marketable deliverables that are consistent with the Program’s goals and objectives.

  1. He/she understands research methodology well enough to structure and lead and carry out primary and secondary research tasks with high quality, on schedule, and within budget.

  1. Based on the research results and with input from others, he/she develops foresights about the business consequences of plausible alternative futures as well as insights for decision makers about links to their strategic choices and action plans.

  1. He/she then communicates these finding both in writing and in person. Writing includes succinct executive summaries (1–5 pages), provocative articles (6–15 pages), and research monographs (16–100 pages). Writing must be accurate and effective, clear and compelling. The Research Manager will present these results in a wide variety of face-to-face forums, from small-group workshops to large-group conferences.

  1. He/she will design and organize conferences, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and other events. He/she will facilitate discussions at these events to ensure clarity and understanding. Some of these group sessions may involve working directly with clients.

  1. He/she represents the Institute and effectively communicates the scope and value of the Institute’s Programs to such a degree that he/she can bring new clients to the Institute.

knowledge/skill requirements

Candidates for this position must have 2–5 years’ experience in health or health care research, project management, or operations combined with time spent in strategic planning. Some background in public policy issues is highly desirable.

He/she must demonstrate strong qualitative analytical skills, such as gathering information and data from multiple sources, conducting interviews, designing surveys, and analyzing and drawing insights from data.

He/she must also show strong quantitative analytical skills, such as probabilistic analysis and other advanced tools or analysis techniques.

This position requires a proven ability to structure, lead, and manage research projects.

The candidate must also possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, organizational and multi-tasking capabilities, and group meeting facilitation talents. In addition to working efficiently alone, he/she must collaborate well with other researchers, team members, staff, and outside experts. Our fast-paced, small-business environment requires that He/she is flexible, works at an above-average pace, and performs with minimal supervision.

This position requires strong computer skills and experience conducting research via the Internet. A working knowledge of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, group calendaring, and database programs is required.

educational requirements

Candidates for this position must have at least a Master’s Degree. Our ideal candidate will have a multi-disciplinary background, business degree, or an education in a life science discipline and the ability to broadly apply it.

location and hours

This full-time position is located at the Institute for the Future’s Palo Alto offices. Working hours are flexible, but should overlap most of the normal business day.

IFTF's X2 Project: seeking Stanford and Berkeley grad students

Full details on IFTF's X2 Project can be found here.

We’ll need resumes from those that are interested to see if they are a fit. Contact me (Sean) if this interests you!



Hi All:

We are planning to have an informal, one-day X2 signals workshop for local graduate students around the end of January. We're looking for nearby graduate students, particularly at Stanford and Berkeley, who are working/studying in core science and technology disciplines.

Including, but definitely not limited to...

*Life sciences (especially neurobiology & behavior, genetics, biochemistry & molecular biology, microbiology)

*Engineering (especially electrical & computer, biomedical, chemical & bio-molecular, materials science, information technology, nanotechnology)

*Computer science (no preference)

*Physics (especially solid-state, biophysics, optics, high energy, quantum mechanics, astronomy/cosmology)



While currently enrolled in graduate school is good, we'll also consider recent graduates if they're interested -- undergrad/M.S./M.Eng./Ph.D. We're also particularly looking for international students.

We'll be offering a stipend of approx $250, permanent access to the X2 platform, and of course free food and Wii breaks. The 'workshop' will last one day, probably Friday, January 25.

Friday, January 04, 2008

My next book: The World Without Us

New Reading: The World Without Us - How earth evolves if humans suddenly disappear.

Just Finished: The Last Town on Earth - Having read The Great Influenza (read it!) earlier in the year, the logical next step was to read some historical fiction about the 1919 Pandemic. Read it!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Eve blind wine tasting

We had some friends over for dinner/NYE celebration yesterday and enjoyed some great wine! Here is what we had...

To whet our appetite with cheese and other morsels, we started with:

2001 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche Vineyard

The suggested wine varietal for the tasting was Chateauneuf-du-Pape. As a group, we haven't had much French wine experience (Napa and Sonoma are too close to ignore!), so we decided to expand our horizons. I planted a decoy in the mix just for fun. After the tasting, we tallied up the scores and came up with this ordering:

5. 2005 Gilles Barge Cote-Rotie Cuvee du Plessy - this one seemed to be tainted
4. 2000 Chateau Laroque - my favorite!
3. 2005 Orin Swift The Prisoner - the decoy
2. 2004 Patrick Lesec Chateauneuf-du-Pape Chasse Temps - #1 for 3 tasters
1. 2003 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape - #1 for 5 tasters

(Note that CdP was hard to fine on short other French wines were substituted.)

We enjoyed the rest of the wine with dinner (chicken, pasta, seafood gumbo) and also opened up four more bottles:

2002 Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
2000 Pierre Gaillard Cote Rotie Cote Rozier
2005 Simi Dry Creek Valley Late Harvest Zinfandel
2005 Mount Palomar Chardonnay Solanus Late Harvest

And for the New Year's toast, we opened up some champagne:

N.V. Marcel Hemard Champagne ORIGINE
N.V. Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Reserve
N.V. Jeanmarie Champagne Cuvee Brut

Happy New Year to all!!!