Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

Masterclass: Second Win

The Second Win

The second win is a move in the strategy set that is guided by knowledge of player type rather than by the path of payoffs. Playing the second win a player forfeits larger payoffs that could be achieved by more aggressive play in the early sequence of moves. A relatively new concept for players in a game. In some games, clients as players should be advised to consider a second mover advantage or create a distinctive camouflage. Observe opponent type and find the degree of repetition. In the early Turing moves of a game play less aggressively, focus on type not payoffs and follow the second win playbook. The idea is linked to Thief of Nature from: Workshop Slideshow Beginning 2012/

The Second Win Document: SecondWin.pdf

Masterclass+ Hub: Masterclass+ Hub

Podcast: Second Win - Download This Episode



Decoding Strategy (PDF) (Link to book on publisher’s website)
A valuable tool to analyse business strategies
Masterclass ‘Decoding Strategy’

Bildung & Education

The journal paper adapts Foucault’s concepts with the Bildung philosophy to define a public choice of self. Rather than acceptance of the socio-political status quo, Bildung is about the ability to criticise society, challenging it always. However, the labour of ‘becoming educated’ to a set of performance criteria focuses on the question of who we are and who we might become in an episteme of education; that is, on a public choice of self.
Lying is the norm……

Bildung Article

Lying is the Norm in a Noosphere: ‘Telling it slant’ and ‘white lies’ prevail.

In a paper presented at the Adam Smith Seminar Series, Ludwig Maximilian’s Universitat, LMU, in Munchen, January 2015 Patrick explored the meaning of lying and the meaning of truth. He concludes that the poet’s truth prevails; scientific truth is, on the contrary, fleeting, irrational, and dreamlike. A painter who cannot paint, is, as Socrates says, ‘no painter’. In the paper, Act I provides a critical overview on the meaning of truth in philosophy and literature. Scientific truth is truth as perceived by others. Act II introduces two hypotheses in support of lying as a norm and prepares the foundation for our definition of truth as an aversion to lying. To confirm that a lie is concealed within the meaning of truth as perceived by others Act III adapts a Turing machine in the search for the identity of a liar behind a closed door. This prepares us for Act IV wherein a topology is described with an equivalence between the sets L (lies) and T (truth) that spans a family of subsets, a brotherhood of rascals – the white lies and fairytales that fall under the truth set, T. Act V explores the interaction of the human mind with other minds, and first and foremost with itself. In other words, it introduces a noosphere and the conscious awareness of lying in everyday life’s experiences. Truthful honest Mr T enters a binding Noahic covenant that conceals within a lie the meaning of truth as perceived by others; his conscious awareness of others defines a Jacobean tragedy of truth aversion in a noosphere. By Act VI the paper reaches its denouement – as rational and irrational individuals we wait for the (scientific) truth, we wait for Godot.

Seminar Paper

Figure 1 Diagram

Presentation Slides

Obesity: Nudging Towards Health 2.0

Health 2.0 is 21st century health policy. It is about rational discriminating patients making decisions about their quality of life; it is about nudging people to participate in a wellness-and-lifestyle programme  (WLP) with timely and effective health care for better health and improved quality of life. Our client, Medfit Proactive Healthcare, is the first and only medical exercise, physiotherapy and rehabilitation facility in Ireland.  Medfit intervention not only increases mobility in a cohort of patients presenting with chronic pain, orthopaedic injury or limited mobility but the Medfit trial data shows improvements in MET scores translating into appreciably large cost reductions. The analysis makes use of HSE information, together with the CSO population projection data. Calculating the present value of the total cost to the State from obesity and the complications of type-2 diabetes in 2014 monetary terms (i.e. the capitalised cost to the State to 2046) at €9.98bn, a scenario in which the problems of overweight/obesity in the 55-65 age group are being addressed through the proposed WLP preventive health and wellness intervention at Medfit could potentially reduce this figure to €9.49bn, a saving of €490m.

In the counterfactual setting where inertia exists about health and wellness, where new ideas, technology and innovation are disrupting the health sector, we believe that the projected cost savings are sufficiently robust to nudge the narrative forward on treating expensive diseases in the latent risk age cohorts. Clinical trial data not only highlights the benefits of a real demand for WLP, complementing protocols for hip and knee replacements, chronic back-pain, obesity, type-2 diabetes, but it also allows an insurance provider to assign patients according to risk profiles based on both the statistical and clinical data. It also provides you with the opportunity to be healthier in the 21st century.  Short report is attached..MedfitWeb2015…..The final report is available from our client, Medfit, at

Management Behaviour & Twittering of Geese

An early version of a manuscript has been discovered amongst the archives, so here it is with a particular relevance today in defining the game boundaries of a management team, wherein products survive, markets evolve and firms grow. As players, management adapt to their environment and adopt new strategies just like a family of geese in a ‘game of geese’ against the stealth fox.

Management Behaviour & Twittering of Geese

Plenary presentation at a Midland’s Think Tank

Plenary presentation at a Midland’s Think Tank on technology and data organised by Midas Technologies, the paper focused on big data patterns and cloud security. Who owns the personal data? We do. Explores the creation of tax efficient cloud services ‘free trade’ zone in Ireland.

Plenary presentation

Invited guest presentation at the University of Munich

Invited guest presentation at Workshop on the theme of ‘Bildung and Education’ at the University of Munich April 2014; the paper explores the concept of self and draws an inference from Foucault to explore the meaning of education and learning.

Munich Paper 2014

Memo to Ms Ahrendts


Re: Apple Inc: Play not to lose: Minimax strategy

Dear Ms Ahrendts

Congratulations on your recent appointment. We have been commenting on Apple for a number of years in this Blog, and from the perspective of game theory. You should challenge everything about the data – market share figures, consumer loyalty and the source of the competitive threat. Apple does need to refocus, to reshape its strategy in order to compete in an evolving game that exhibits both convergent technologies and rapidly changing set of consumer preferences. Are you a brand? Are you a design company or an innovator? Analysts look at Apple in terms of profit margins and a company trading on earnings estimates and revision of the estimates. With new product launches across the i-suite of products, coupled with an underlying iOS ecosystem, they look forward to new product launches, and endless queues by early adopters and loyal fans at different cities across the world. But from our perspective, observing Apple as a player in a game, we would adjudge that you are not winning the game.

Confused consumers

First of all, your product offerings are in danger of becoming nodoids: in other words, they come to represent nothing more than a roll-out across a common platform of a suite of not dissimilar products absent any innovation. Consumers are either underwhelmed or disappointed. Once they ask the nodoid question: ‘is an iPhone an iPad or is the iPad an iPhone?’ the game dynamic switches from a game of playing to win to a game of playing not to lose. This is happening. Secondly, the analysts expect the i-Watch – so what? Analysts continue to debate the next big thing. So what? Could it be IPTV or cloud solutions?  So what? You know that you are not in search, you know that you are not in digital mobile advertising, you are a late entrant into cloud services, you failed to acquire Twitter, SIRI failed, Newton failed in the 1990s and in 2013 you allow us to believe that you are not a player in IPTV.

We have argued this before #tuncnunc discussing a range of game solutions to consider: launch a nano iPhone or engage in a telecom alliance with 4G LTE providers such as China Mobile. The 5C launch is about maximising profit margins; a nano offensive play, however, would ignite a $99 ‘sweet price’ competition for full functionality smartphone devices. Forward guidance on the stock estimate above $500 may adjust for these events in 2014-15 but these events may now be too late from a game perspective to play to win the long game. In other words, no longer is it about how Apple is performing in 2013, it should be about Apple’s likely performance in 2023.



Second mover advantage: SMA & Minimax

So an alternative for you to consider in your new role is to secure the second mover advantage [SMA] by playing not to lose. First, recognise that your market shares are increasing at a decreasing rate. Correct that trend. The iPhone 5 delay, for example, created a zero-sum switch to rivals, notably Samsung, in the UK and possibly across the EU. Your smartphone market share is under threat in Asia as the convergent smartphone and tablet game evolves to become Apple’s game to lose. Start thinking like your competitors – reason like this: ‘I think-you think-I-think’: Apple thinks that Samsung expects it to defend the iPhone, so Samsung will attack the iPad. But Samsung believes that Apple will reason this way, and so assuming that Apple will defend the iPad, Samsung will attack the iPhone. But Samsung also knows that Apple will reason this way.

This line of reasoning suggests that some kind of a decision tree ‘what-if’ analysis will reveal which strategy is Apple’s optimal choice. But it is more complex than that – we argue in our new book Decoding Strategy that how either player does in the game depends on what each believes the other is likely to do. Apple has to choose to play a minimax strategy, that is, a strategy that minimizes the maximum amount Samsung can expect to get in the evolving smartphone and tablet game, and thus maximize the amount Apple can expect to win. It is for you to patch a minimax strategy into your strategic vision for 2014 and beyond. To quote T.S.Eliot: ‘What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning, the end is what we start from’. With best wishes in t+1…..

Patterns & Predictions – Playing to win v playing not to lose.

Patterns & Predictions – Playing to win v playing not to lose.


Spin-0 for Apple in a French defence: from iPod to iNext or acquire a telco?

In our previous Blog entries, on the smartphone and tablet market, we referred to the market as a game, G. In G a new phenomenon has occurred, created by a convergence of technology coupled with rational consumers asking: is the iPhone5 = a mini iPad or is the new iPad mini = iPhone6? This line of questioning, we believe, translates the Apple products into a scalar (spin-0) with no strategic direction. A scalar product, if you recall from physics, only needs a numerical value, and is not attached to a direction. Where is Apple going? Earlier this year, IDC Research reported that Apple’s share of the global market for tablets fell sharply in 2012 from 65% to 50%.

Strategists therefore need to ask the entropy question: do gains necessarily accrue to Samsung, Amazon and Asus or are rational consumers simply waiting or delaying buying Apple devices? To find an answer, we posit that Apple products and non-Apple products may share common features and functionalities but they do not overlap, thus creating lines of adjacent vertices in an evolving market share game.  Furthermore, Apple may have the greatest App store in the game but as it continues to rotate through iPod, iPhone and iPad to iNext, spherical  competitors from anywhere at any time to will enter the game and win.  Rational consumers delaying a purchase and the convergence in rival technologies facilitate competition, and by Q4 2011 Google powered devices began to close in on Apple’s dominance. More recently, Microsoft’s Surface, the Google-Samsung Nexus 10 running on the latest Jelly Bean software, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Asus-Google Nexus 7 have emerged as formidable competitors in the game.

What if the XBox music internet service has the potential to impact on iTunes? Investors are not clueless about the technology convergence nor are they aloof to the need for an optimal strategic response from Apple. With a cash balance that is equivalent to a quarter of its CAPM, investors will want more investment. They may ask: why not acquire a telco? The iPhone5 can indeed promise 4G technology, albeit not everyone, who has an iPhone 5, nor anyone anywhere in the world, who is thinking about buying an iPhone 5, will be able to avail of 4G. There is no point really in offering rational consumers a new fountain pen without the ink! As rival competitors continue to enter the game G, the family of competitors grows and new features and functionalities create entropy and adjacent vertices that will limit Apple’s progress unless they join the family.  For example, today in November 2012, Apple is not a key player in social media, digital mobile advertising, OLED Smart-TV, nor is it dominant in cloud computing, NFC and mobile e-wallet payments. They could be in time, many investors hope that they will – sometimes this is not how it works.

Apple can fail: who remembers the Newton in the 1990s? Or the more recent befuddled roll-out its mapping service?  The more we observe G the more convinced we are than it mirrors a game of chess. But is it a game of French defence where it will be challenging for Apple (White) to hold on to the centre as opponent’s attack its Queen (iOS) quickly and swiftly, faster than any counterattack from Apple.  Maybe Apple should stop defending its pawn line of iPod-iPhone-iPad? Acquire a telco. In chess language, Black is out to attack the pawn line. What is Apple’s optimal sequence of moves? Is the ecosystem a sub-game of Alekhine defence by Google (Black) or Android alliance (Black), allowing its King’s Knight (Android) to be positioned across the board so as to weaken White’s centre pawns? We will take up these issues in next Blog entry – our continued recommendation for Apple is to play not to lose rather than play to win.