178: The Efficiency Paradox – Interview with guest expert Edward Tenner

Edward Tenner, author of The Efficiency Paradox: What Big Data Can’t Do

Bill Ringle and Edward Tenner discuss the “Efficiency Paradox” and how it impacts business owners in practical ways.

>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com  for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.

Interview Insights

Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:

  • The danger of relying too much on automated resume scans.
  • What to watch out for with the “tyranny of metrics” and how to counter it.
  • What false positives distort in medical tests and procedures.
  • How to recognize when efficiency has been pushed too far and what to do to protect your interests.

Read the Show Notes from this Episode

  • 2:18 How Edwards elementary school librarians socialized him into the love of books and the love of reading.
  • 2:53 “I’m really an opinion writer and an interpreter.”
  • 3:28 “Once people understand the historical background they have more confidence in dealing with the present.”
  • 5:09 “You can think of this as a continuous R&D Laboratory.”
  • 5:49 “The point of the book is that too much focus on short-term efficiency can make us less efficient in the long run.”
  • 6:20 The art of inspired inefficiency
  • 8:21 “I think too much reliance on Amazon means it’s very easy for someone to get into a groove, to have lots of things recommended that are sort of like what they had before.”
  • 11:07 The importance of having a diversity of skills and mentalities in the workplace. 
  • 11:37 The concept of peripheral vision, and the importance of creating opportunities for resourceful people.
  • 13:13 “Sometimes if you’re focusing too much on the algorithm, you’re overlooking the opportunities for creative change.”
  • 16:23 How to be intentional when using search engines.
  • 17:12 “Find a well-established site and form a relationship with it.”
  • 19:19 “When you’re evaluating anything based on metrics, it really pays to see what kinds of compromise might have been taken.”
  • 20:49 “There are a lot of problems in the feedback of medical efficiency.”
  • 23:49 “The most important thing for me in medicine is to be sure that the style of the doctor that you’re working with is a style you are comfortable with.”

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Expert Bio

Edward Tenner is a distinguished scholar of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and a visiting scholar in the Rutgers University Department of History. He was a visiting lecturer in the Humanities Council at Princeton and has held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study and the University of Pennsylvania. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Wilson Quarterly, and Forbes. He has given talks for many organizations, including Microsoft, AT&T, the National Summit on White Collar Crime, the Smithsonian Associates, and TED.   His book, Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences, written in part with a Guggenheim Fellowship, has been translated into German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, and Czech.

Contact Info and Social Media for Edward Tenner

Resources Mentioned by Edward Tenner:

Below are key people, places, books, quotes, websites, and other resources that we discussed so you can explore further.

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Books Authored by Edward Tenner


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