Is Your DNA Nothing More than a Credit Score?

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Have you ever applied for a credit card?

 
 

A loan? A big one like a mortgage?

 
 

If so, you know that an ever more efficient (so they say) rating system, based on a myriad of data, is crunched through ever more complex algorithms in order to get you a quicker answer and faster access to your spending limits and at the same time to better protect the lender from default, fraud and the losses that poor human judgment can bring about.

 
 

Once, you applied at the bank or credit union, in person, filled out the background data, provided a few references, waited a week or so and, voila, you were in the money or not.

 
 

Today, you apply online, provide key data and the bots deploy to search and sweep in a digital quest following your trail (and there is a trail) and feed the maw of the ever-hungry, data-crunching algorithm and soon you are in the money or not.

 
 

So far so good.

 
 

Yet, we had a credit crisis that took down monolithic financial institutions; we continue to read about the fear of big bank losses due to poor vetting and overextension of credit and, of course, poor judgment still seems to be in the headlines on a fairly regular basis.

 
 

All in a day’s work for Big Data.

 
 

In fact, I have heard from a few banks that for certain loans and such they have re-instituted the look-them-in-the-eye test — a gut check of face-to-face evaluation — in and of itself, as fallible as anything else, but linked to digital data, a good backstop and smart fail-safe system check.

 
 

But that’s not my point.

 
 

I have written much about the digibabble surrounding Big Data and the ensuing surprise factor that more and more seems to be an outcome on blind reliance to its promise of predictive perfection.

 
 

Frankly, I am way more concerned about the addition of other personal data to the credit equation.

 
 

To that end:

 
 

I call your attention to a recent article in The Atlantic by Frank Pasquale… “Scores of Scores: How Companies Are Reducing Consumers to Single Numbers.”

 
 

Pasquale’s fear is not of credit scoring — a good thing — or other vertical scoring — also potentially good and useful — nor is it paranoia of “Big Data”… again important and a boon to our world.

 
 

His fear is that: “America’s obsession with scoring has gone far beyond credit.”

 
 

China is already mixing credit scores with political views. Imagine the impact that kind of social scoring could have on a society where only those who agree with the powerful elite can buy a house or start a business.

 
 

What if you were penalized for what your friends thought and posted? Think about that — you have a good friend, from childhood, who has a divergent view from yours about the state of the world, but innocent friendship trumps politics (sometimes) and yet you are denied your new car or home.

 
 

This is not the stuff of George Orwell, folks… this is becoming very real and has some terrifying possibilities… as Pasquale points out:

 
 

Policymakers should discourage the expansion of credit scoring into life scoring — or, at the very least, require disclosure of all the data and algorithms behind the scores to the people being scored.

 
 

There needs to be a recognition that scoring can be ‘highly reductionist, atomizing complex, contingent relationships into simplified, one-dimensional measures that cannot provide a full and multidimensional picture’ of individuals. It’s not necessarily an innovation to celebrate. Rather, it can be a prelude to the discrimination that’s rightly condemned.

 
 

And, I call to your attention Peeple — an almost app — that still might find the light of day.

 
 

But as you read about it, follow the backlash that has at least slowed it down.

 
 

There is so much good that scoring in some categories can do — from disease prevention to employee reliability to better loan granting — but mix and match them to create a bigger view and I’d posit we create more of a Frankenstein than a utopian model.

 
 

And, even Google likes to look data in the eye…

 
 

So here is a quote — of sorts — from Charles Dickens (but the text was shortened from a story, although the context is true and reflects his view of the world then and I’d be ready to bet today as well…) Listen:

 
 

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another to be brave and true. Charles Dickens

 
 

I’d say he has hit it square on — at some point we have to look life, each other, our credit ratings, in the eye, face-to-face, if not, we run the risk of a world controlled by hidden algorithms that reduce us all to one dimension.

 
 

And for all of us marketers, there is no greater threat to success and no quicker path to failure than turning our clients and customers and prospects into mere scores in a computer program.

 
 

As much as we can fool ourselves into believing we have somehow dimensionalized life by assigning us all scores based on torrents of Big Data, I’d bet on the companies and brands that valued real people with real needs and real unpredictability.

 
 

What do you think?

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7 Reasons Why Completing A Triathlon Should Be On Your Bucket List

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Reasons A Triathlon Should Be On Your Bucket List

The Seven Reasons You Should Get Off Your Ass And Try A Triathlon

I know, I know… It’s a really long race and you’ve never thought of yourself as an athlete. Or you train every day but you hate running. You’re afraid of sharks. You never learned to ride a bike. You don’t have enough “free time on your hands.” I get it. There are endless excuses not to do a triathlon. Above all is that a triathlon is flat out difficult and scary. But there are just as many good reasons to do one (not to mention bragging rights). That’s exactly why you should pull your balls out of your purse and do one. I did. Here’s what I learned:

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You ARE healthy! Working in fitness I’ve met so many humans with athletic gifts. I’ve also met many with serious limitations; missing limbs, paralyzed by trauma or crippled by disease. Yet nonetheless, they pushed themselves daily, far beyond what their physical limitations allow. I was and am, inspired by these people. Because I love a good adventure and I live for exercise, I decided to do the one thing I was afraid of. Something I thought I was incapable of — well, there’s marriage, but that’s another story. So I took myself out of the comfort zone and signed up.

You Have The Time: My life is extremely busy. I thought finding the 5-10 hours a week necessary for training would be impossible. Once I committed to making the time those hours magically appeared. Do you lose some sleep and the casual #SundayFunday? Sure. Are there times when it feels like all work and no play? Yes. Less time for Instagram? Absolutely. But after my triathlon I liberated an extra 5-10 hours a week that now go to my passions and new goals. Plus the amount of mental clarity and personal intimacy I developed was priceless.

Physical Change: Sure you get in the gym with the same routine a couple times a week. When’s the last time you noticed a difference? Nothing changes your body like cross-training. Your ass gets higher and tighter. Thighs and calves get more toned (boy, do I love thick strong thighs on a man). Abs peek through or shred to a whole new washboard level. Your lats get huge and give you that super man body, and you skin glows from the daily detox by sweating like a nun in a cucumber patch.

Mental Strength: When you’re hundreds of yards out in the open ocean with no life vest, or 20 miles into your ride, you quickly realize that there’s no one there to rely on but yourself. Then you discover YOU actually have YOUR back. Every time you train you surprise yourself by learning something new about the sport, new about your insecurities, and just how capable you really are. Quickly you realize your body has become an efficient, well-oiled machine. Best of all, you’ve trained your mental game strong enough to get you through this insanely challenging task. If you think a triathlon is physical, you’re wrong. It’s mental. “Whether you think you can, or you think can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford knew a thing or two about a thing or two.

Sense Of Purpose: I have donated to countless non-profits and worked with many charity events, but there is something profound about being the one actually DOING the work. Sweat equity is real. For my triathlon I participated with a group called Team in Training. We raised money for leukemia and lymphoma because, well… fuck cancer and philanthropy feels good. I was blessed with a strong and capable body, so when my endurance ran low and my courage drained, I swam for the ones who will never see the ocean again. I rode for the kids that will never feel the freedom of a bicycle and I ran because I have all four limbs. All I had to do was keep moving and my purpose became more than just a hashtag. When’s the last time you could say that?

Fear Is Fake: Fear only appears real until you’ve conquered it. Face it. Fear prohibits you from living your full potential. It holds you back from experiencing the true power of the mind/body connection. Once conquered, you’re left feeling proud and confident. That’s something tangible you can take with you. And let’s be real, confidence is one of the sexiest qualities a man can exude. Not to mention you may have fought off a shark or two. The ladies will love that (a little fabrication never hurt anyone).

Happiness is the byproduct of achieving your goals. So when’s the last time you pushed yourself and overcame something you thought you couldn’t do? You only live once, so try anything twice and let the training begin!

 

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Things A Plumber May Have the ability to Do That You Could not.

 

The amount of times have you called in a plumber, just to have him demand you a pricey rate for a straightforward solution that you could have done yourself? You can conserve a great deal of money if you recognize a little much more about your plumbing system. Read this post taking care of some plumbing system suggestions that you could utilize.

 
 

Check out plumber in Bukit Merah!

 
 

See to it you get a good recommendation or examine the references before you employ a plumber. With great suggestions, it will certainly assure that you are working with a seasoned plumber. He will certainly have a completely stocked truck and also be able to complete most tiny jobs in one check out if the knowledgeable plumber is professional.

 
 

If you are preparing to leave your system shut off for a couple of weeks, make use of an item like BioBen. Water will still continue to be in the water pipes and also might begin scenting considering that it is stagnating. This kind of product will certainly keep the water from going stale and also from scenting also bad.

 
 

If you have chrome or ceramic plumbing fixtures, be very careful when making any sort of sorts of repair works. These sorts of coatings are really easily scraped, and also they are expensive to obtain fixed. When dealing with these finishes, be mindful and also exercise caution. Consider if it could be better to employ an expert.

 
 

If the water pipes have ruptured in an upstairs area, use a tool to bore the ceiling below in numerous places and also areas pots as well as pans under to capture the water. If this is not done, the weight of the gathering water might trigger a collapse of the whole ceiling.

 
 

These fats trigger clogs by strengthening in pipes. Once it gets hard, throw it in the garbage or compost bin.

 
 

Routinely check your home appliance connections and taps around the property for any sort of kind of noticeable leaks or neighboring signs of dampness. Not just do also the tiniest leaks lead to a large waste of water as well as money, they additionally could cause ruin to your house or even the development of harmful molds.

 
 

Job with plumbers that offer flat rates. When a plumber is charging by the hour, they do not have an incentive to obtain the job done quickly.

 
 

Particular sounds suggest the water stress is too high. Listening closely to your water pipes can save you a whole lot of money searching down the issue.

 
 

There are times when a plumber’s service is required. Nonetheless, lots of plumbing concerns could be attended to effortlessly if you understand just how. Learning even more about just how your plumbing works can save you money and time in repairs. Remember these pointers, and also they can conserve you a great deal of migraines the following time you have a plumbing system issue.

 
 
 

Just how several times have you called in a plumber, just to have him bill you a pricey price for a straightforward repair that you could have done on your own? Make sure you obtain a good suggestion or check the referrals before you work with a plumber. If the experienced plumber is specialist, he will have a fully stocked truck and be able to complete most tiny works in one go to.

 
 

When a plumber is demanding by the hr, they do not have a reward to get the task done quickly. There are times when a plumber’s service is required.

We Found The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office

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Watches For The Office

The Watch Snob Weighs In On The Perfect Watch To Wear To The Office

An Affordable, Flashy Watch

I love your articles and your honesty. I’m a mid 20’s sales guy working in Selfridges, an aspiring actor (doing a drama course). I’ll be very honest, I do like attention, I wear designer, but I always had a bit of disappointment showing my wrist. I own a GC & a Raymond Weil(a lot of time people told me that they love my watch, people who were wearing Cartier/Rolex). As I grew older I realised that what I own is a piece of Swiss made crap. I have less respect for entry level Swiss made.

Now, I do have a taste for Pateks, Panerais & Hublot’s but my budget can’t afford them at the movement. I live in London, travel by tube and honestly speaking I hardly ever see a “good watch.” Rolex/Omega is the best I see, which for me is too boring.

Long story short, I want to buy a watch. There are few of them I would like to see on my wrist and be confident. When I wear a watch I should be ready to face a snob like you and be appreciated.

So the watches I have in my mind are Tag Link Chronograph, Porches Design Flat Six, Bell & Ross Classic, Zenith Star, Eterna Kontiki & Montblanc Meisterstuck. Really appreciate your time. Thank you.

 

And I in turn appreciate your honestly. So you want something a bit flash, but don’t have the money for anything really recognizable, and you have come up with a list of what, let’s face it, you and I both know are really also-rans. I think that given the fact that Patek, Panerai, and Hublot have little or nothing in common in any way whatsoever that you really do not yet know your own mind.

The first piece of advice that I would give you is to calm down and realize that a watch is not a two-week run in a piece of forgettable musical theatre; it is a longer term relationship (a lifetime relationship, in fact, if everything goes well) and if you are an actor, you will benefit a great deal from having a little bit of the stability on your wrist that you are not going to have in your professional life. The least expensive Panerai at the moment is, pre-owned, not much more than some of the watches you have named and for God’s sake, don’t settle for something just because you have the actor’s occupational hazard of having a gnat’s attention span.

 

A Watch For The Office

I am a 25 year old law student, about to start a government job in September, and will be in a suit and tie every day. I was wondering what office appropriate watches you may suggest, considering my lowly government salary of course. Any help would be much appreciated!!

 

Alas that I missed your missive back when you wrote to me in July, but as this is a nearly universal problem of a young man starting out at the beginning of what he hopes will be a promising professional life, allow me to dilate a bit on the subject. Here are three watches I hope you got one of, or at least considered.

First, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple and very, very versatile. Second, the Rolex Explorer. It’s distinctive, it’s interesting, it’s got great history, it’s laudably simple, and very, very versatile. And finally, pretty much any Grand Seiko. It’s . . . well, you get the idea. There are certainly other watches you could consider, but in many cases they are either a bit specific as an every day office watch (the Speedmaster Professional) or they are a potential source of future disappointment if you learn anything about watches (a lot of Frederique Constant, although not all of it) or too expensive (AP, Patek, Lange, and Vacheron should properly mark the arrival of success, not the setting out in search of it.)

What Makes A Watch Great?

I understand comparing a $1000 watch with a $10000 watch (forgive me for relating cost with value) is much like comparing a meal at the neighbourhood “causal dining” joint to the upper class Parisian restaurant owned by the same family for 200 years. Sure, both are filling and may have similar nutritional values, but the latter is crafted as a form of art by real artists and for that it gains intrinsic value. I understand the value of value. I appreciate anything that contains subtleties, detail, meaning, a raison d’être. Most of these are experienced or felt: music is heard, food is tasted, paintings are seen. My question is, what are the experiences or feelings that separate good from great watches?

The only watch I ever wore was a Timex Ironman for a year or two, nothing since then. The past two weeks I’ve realised, however, watches are another form of art with intricacies worthy of appreciation. I’m starting to appreciate them but I don’t know how. I feel like once I finally “get” it, my interest will last a lifetime.

I would like to know what is it exactly that separates the good from the great. I drink scotch and I can taste the difference peat and 20 years makes. Can we really experience the difference a quality movement makes? I mean, quartz is pretty accurate, right? What does “innovation” mean when it comes to this? Watches have been around a long time, is there really any room for innovation? Why do we care? I’ve seen $1000 watches designed very similar to $7000 ones too, what is it watch connoisseurs respect so much about those certain brands? I need to be shown the way.

 

This is an impossible question to answer in any format short of a book. That said, you are not wrong to ask it. As you have very perspicaciously noted, there is essentially an extremely steep curve of increasing price relative to very minute increases in quality in watchmaking. Essentially, it is a matter not just of the details, but what pains have been taken over the details, and how much those sorts of pains mean to you. A fine mechanical watch, even the finest, is in most respects functionally inferior to a Casio G-Shock, and if you are looking at mechanical watches there is almost no discernable difference to the uneducated eye —even a keen one —between a Seiko 5 and a Patek Philippe. The difference, however, lies in the amount of hand-work that goes into each, which means that much of what differentiates a really fine watch from a perfectly good one is finishing. This may sound like an invitation to be cynical, but it is not. It’s a matter of realizing that what a fine watch does, is put you in touch with people —with craftsmen, both living and dead, who have contributed to keeping a very arcane set of skills alive and passing them down to the next generation. Modern watchmaking is very easy to feel cynical about, and even the best brands are hard pressed to resist the temptation to cheat, because they can make more money by doing so, and their clients are largely too stupid, or too unobservant, or too both, to know the difference. The brands most worthy of respect, however, are the ones who keep doing things the right way, because they know it is the right thing to do.

 

Do you have a question for the Watch Snob? Send it to him at editorial@askmen.com.