The BIG Enterprise Story: Episode 1 - Something New
(June 9, 2017)
Dear friends, mentors, and colleagues,
We hope you are doing well! We are writing to you because we have known you for years, learned with you, worked together, or had enriching discussions during which you showed an interest in who we are (Aurelie, Tom) and/or what we do (BIG). You come from different backgrounds and nationalities, but all of you are outstanding people we are grateful to have met, with whom we share values, and whose interactions with us have been most enjoyable or striking - and for that, we we thank you!
A couple of years ago, we set off to do our own enterprise, Business Interactive Games (BIG). We are happy to report that the BIG Enterprise has taken off for good and keeps moving forward in its journey. As we are turning a new corner, we would like to try something new.
As some of you already know, the BIG Enterprise is more than a business, it is our life project: the expression of our character, values, and passions. Our purpose is to create bridges between cultures, generations, disciplines, species, and regions of the world. We love exploring, learning, working with others, and sharing knowledge. We strive to be creative thinkers and efficient doers. We create new ideas and make innovations come to life. We are determined to do our part to help tackle global challenges. That is enough to keep us busy for the next few decades!
We are still at the beginning of our BIG journey, so we would like to share our story with you as we write it.
We believe that building meaningful connections between people with shared values is the key to happiness and fulfillment in life - as well as a great way to solve many problems in the world.
We will send you emails every few weeks, like the one below, in which we will share life lessons we learned, personal details about ourselves, our ideas and what we do at BIG - whether that's business, Nature adventures, or other activities.
We hope that this will be also be a way to keep in touch and discuss topics that may interest you. If you wish to react, comment, give feedback, or disagree with something we write, just reply to us! We love learning and exchanging ideas - this is how we grow as human beings.
We hope to see you again soon!
All the best,
Aurelie & Tom
The BIG team
DID YOU KNOW...
Aurélie is a French citizen and Paris resident who was born in Jakarta (Indonesia) where her mother is from, as part of the Christian-Chinese ethnic minority. Her Chinese middle name Mei-Hoa (美花) translates as “Mei = Beautiful” and “Hoa = Flower”. She has lived on 4 continents and goes regularly to the Arctic Nordics and southern Africa for endurance/wilderness activities.
Tom is a German citizen and US permanent resident who was born in Munich. He spent a year in rural Nebraska as a teenager. He has been living in the US since university. He lives in Austin (Texas).
Aurélie and Tom have been close friends for more than 10 years. They first met as students at Stanford University during the Computer Science class CS121:Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.
BIG was officially launched on the 4th of July 2015. We are a
self-funded and independent enterprise.
THE BIG SPIRIT
'We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.' - Confucius
'Fais de ta vie un rêve, et d’un rêve, une réalité.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(Make your life a dream, and a dream a reality)
'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.'
- Theodore Roosevelt, excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
BIG ARTICLE - Decision Making under Uncertainty in a Changing World
Making the right decisions is key for people and organizations in today’s complex, connected, globalized, and rapidly-changing world. Its uncertainty brings new risks, but also new opportunities. Global challenges, such as economic inequality, climate change, violent radicalization/terrorism, unsustainable consumption of natural resources, mass migrations, mass species extinction, are inter-connected. They must be addressed collectively across sectors, cultures, and nations, so that the world can positively move forward.
In the Wild West of the Cyber Space where there are no rules or boundaries, new technologies are double-edged swords. Human-driven technology is a key to help solve today’s global challenges, but cannot replace the fundamentally human ability to think and act.
Strategy is the art of decision making and is essential in all areas of business and life. It is the cross-functional glue that gives purpose to an endeavor and unifies its parts. Computational Strategy is a new field designed to guide decision makers through the Digital Transformation. At BIG, we are its pioneers and architects.
An effective decision maker must be able to distinguish between truly revolutionizing technologies vs. new sophisticated gadgets, in order to harness technology as a mean towards an end, and not pursue it as an end in itself.
Whereas the trend in recent decades has been towards specialization, it is now becoming essential to develop multi-disciplinary knowledge. Training, learning, and expanding one’s horizons must be continuous throughout a life and career. Knowing how to connect the dots, define a vision, choose the right priorities, and focus on what matters is critical for success.
There is no zero-risk. The solution is to identify and practice potential scenarios to be prepared and mitigate risks. In this respect, Decision Games are the future of strategy, management, and training. They combine the computational power of Artificial Intelligence with the reasoning power of Human Intelligence to create complex and data-rich simulation environments where people and organizations can test decisions and strategies.
Beyond knowledge and tools, one must have the right mindset and cultivate personal traits such as integrity, resilience, grit, compassion, balance, optimism, team spirit, and harmony with Nature. There is a key ingredient to become an accomplished leader, decision maker, and human being, that money or power cannot buy, and that can only be acquired through conscious effort - it’s called character.