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ABSCHIED ZUR WINTERPAUSE

Nach einem bunten und aufregenden Jahr möchten wir uns an dieser Stelle in eine Winterpause verabschieden.
Wir haben dieses Jahr wieder so viel erlebt, dass ich gar nicht glauben kann, dass sich 2019 schon langsam seinem Ende nähert. Wie schnell das doch immer geht!
Die Winterpause ist für uns wirklich wichtig, um nach dem vielen Trubel, Chaos, der stets täglichen wie nächtlichen Arbeit ein wenig zur Ruhe zu kommen- gerade in der Vorweihnachtszeit. Zumal wir wissen, wie wertvoll Zeit ist und wie viel wir davon durch zu viel Arbeit in den letzten Wochen und Monaten verloren haben. Umso wertvoller ist es für uns, diese Zeit nun noch einmal gebündelt nachzuholen. Das wird uns allen sehr guttun. Umso mehr freue ich mich auf diese Zeit mit meinen Freunden und meiner Familie, vor allem aber mit Micha und den Kindern, und hoffe diesbezüglich auf euer Verständnis!
Aber das habt ihr ganz bestimmt, so wie ich euch kenne! <3
Foto by Christine Lang
Auf YouTube verabschieden wir uns auch noch einmal persönlich bei euch:
–> Zum Video: „Abschied zur Winterpause“
Foto by Christine Lang
Außerdem möchte ich mich von Herzen bei euch bedanken! Einfach dafür, dass ihr uns lest und schaut und uns auf unseren verschiedenen Kanälen folgt. Ich bin so gerührt davon, wie viele von euch schon von Anfang an mit dabei sind. Das ist wirklich ein schönes Gefühl und ein stärkender Gedanke.
Auch dieses Jahr ist unsere Community wieder auf allen Kanälen gewachsen, was mir einfach zeigt, dass ihr euch über alles freut, was wir verbloggen und vervloggen. Und das freut mich sehr!
Danke, dass ihr da seid!
Foto by Christine Lang
Falls ihr uns während der Pause vermissen solltet, könnt ihr euch ja noch einmal durch das Blog-Archiv wühlen oder euch ältere oder die neuesten Videos auf unserem YouTube-Kanal anschauen. Denn dort gingen vor allem in letzter Zeit viele Videos online: Roomtouren zu allen Kinderzimmern, Thailand-Vlogs, ein dm-Haul, ein Schottland-Vlog u.v.m.
Vielleicht habt ihr ja noch nicht alle gesehen und könnt die Zeit jetzt dafür nutzen? Wir würden uns freuen! =)
Foto by Christine Lang
Foto by Christine Lang
Foto by Christine Lang
Ich werde mich auch ganz bestimmt zwischendurch mal mit dem einen oder anderen Post auf Instagram melden, spätestens zu Weihnachten und zum neuen Jahr, vielleicht auch noch mal zwischendurch. Da gehe ich stark von aus. =)
Solltet ihr euch also freuen, wenn ihr Zwischendurch ein Lebenszeichen von uns bekommt, folgt uns gern auf Instagram!
Foto by Christine Lang
Es war ein wunderschönes, abenteuerliches, aufregendes und unvergessliches Jahr 2019! Wir blicken mit vielen schönen Gefühlen auf die letzten Monate zurück und können es kaum erwarten, was das neue Jahr bringen wird. Sicher wird es viele neue spannende Geschichten schreiben. Für uns alle. Für euch wie für uns. Und ihr werdet uns weiterhin bei unseren (Alltags-)Abenteuern begleiten können. Versprochen!
Foto by Christine Lang
Und nun wünsche ich euch allen eine wunderschöne Vorweihnachtszeit mit vielen unvergesslichen und besinnlichen Momenten!
Genießt die Zeit mit euren Liebsten, lasst euch nicht zu sehr vom Alltag stressen und von Terminen hetzen! Backt zusammen Kekse, verziert zusammen Lebkuchenhäuser, schlendert über Weihnachtsmärkte und erfreut euch an den leuchtenden Kinderaugen an jedem Dezembermorgen, wenn ein neues Adventskalendertürchen geöffnet wird!
Ich wünsche euch eine wunderschöne Zeit!
Wie lesen, schreiben und sehen uns 2020 wieder!
Und vielleicht auch zwischendurch auf Instagram. 😉
Bis dahin alles Liebe,
eure Mari <3

The post ABSCHIED ZUR WINTERPAUSE appeared first on Baby, Kind und Meer.

Seven Spaces We Updated At The Beach House Over The Last 2 Years (And Why)

I’m someone who loves those detailed “what worked & what didn’t” posts where someone looks back on the choices they made and shares what didn’t work out as well as they hoped – and how they adjusted to make things work better for their family (more comfortable/more practical/more beautiful/etc). And since we furnished this house over two years ago – can you believe we did it in the fall of 2017?! – I thought it would be fun to share the changes we made since then in one big rundown post. So here we go.
The Front Porch

The Change: New front porch swing
The Reason: The old one was already rotting!

The original porch swing we hung out here was nice and simple (white like the trim, and the vertical pickets tied right into the railing), but it sadly wasn’t up to the job of withstanding the weather.
Continue reading Seven Spaces We Updated At The Beach House Over The Last 2 Years (And Why) at Young House Love.

Stuff We Own & Love That’s On Sale Right Now

Our annual rundown of stuff you can get cheaper than we did is here. Ha! Every year we check out the Black Friday deals (which literally start earlier every year) and we pull out stuff that we bought with our own money & really really like. And we share it here so you can snag things for 20% off, 30% off, and even over 50% off! We’ll try to update this post if more codes come out (just come back and scroll to the bottom to see all the sale links & codes in one place).
Our fully upholstered bed is marked down from $949 to $572 (40%!). Ours is the Talc color, and it’s such a step up from a metal frame and so much cleaner looking without needing a bedskirt!
Our woven blinds (we have these on every downstairs window) are marked down to start from $29.99 instead of $39.99 (19% off) .
Continue reading Stuff We Own & Love That’s On Sale Right Now at Young House Love.

#157: How You Can Achieve Even Your Biggest Financial Goals

Don’t we all want mo money without mo problems? Today we’re talking with personal finance expert Tanja Hester about how value-driven spending and setting a “money mission statement” can help you reach even your biggest financial goals – whether you’re saving up for a home in your dream neighborhood, a big renovation, or even early retirement, which Tanja herself has accomplished. She’s sharing easy ways to trim your budget, painless ways to put more in the bank, and why she thinks most of us have more financial freedom than we think. Plus, we’re discussing a new holiday decorating epiphany that Sherry recently had (oddly enough it was inspired by Halloween and not Christmas) and why you may want to grab an often overlooked painting tool that can save the day. And your back.
You can download this episode from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.
Continue reading #157: How You Can Achieve Even Your Biggest Financial Goals at Young House Love.

Holiday Gift Guides For Everyone On Your List (With Stuff Under $20, and even $7!)

As is the tradition, I’m always the last blogger in blogland to get a gift guide up (did I mention we just got our tree up two days ago?!), but I love searching for fun gift ideas all over the interwebs (including tons of small businesses & handmade items) and smashing them all into one big post for you guys! And this is that post, so let’s get down to business. There’s stuff for grown ups, finds for kids, and a ton of budget friendly ideas that are under $25, and even $15! Hope you find something you love for someone you love… even if that someone is you (I’m totally asking Santa for a few things on this list 😉
GIFTS FOR GROWN-UPS
Here’s what we’re loving, either firsthand stuff we’ve bought ourselves and have really enjoyed – or things we’re getting for friends & family (or hoping to find under the tree).

1.

Continue reading Holiday Gift Guides For Everyone On Your List (With Stuff Under $20, and even $7!) at Young House Love.

#158: Holiday Decorating Around The World

After hundreds of submissions from Australia to South Africa, we’ve rounded up some fascinating (and extremely charming) ways that you guys dress up your homes all around the world to celebrate a variety of holidays. We loved hearing about everything from colorful Diwali decorations in India to elaborate Nativity scenes in Colombia, along with a wide range of tales about who brings the gifts (Santa isn’t the only game in town!). And we realized there’s one common theme that ties pretty much every holiday together across the globe! Plus we’re sharing the painful wrench that was thrown into our master bathroom progress, and why we need to have a word with Taylor Swift. Oh and the movie that you should run, not walk, to go see.
You can download this episode from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.
Continue reading #158: Holiday Decorating Around The World at Young House Love.

Our Stone-Topped Coffee Table Hack

For everyone who has been asking for the details on our new coffee table (glimpses of it have made their way into my InstaStories over the last few months – and boy did you guys notice!), I’m finally writing up all the details.
How many words can someone possibly share about the hunt for and the creation of a living room coffee table that checks every one of their oddly specific boxes, you ask? Well, settle in. I shall regale you with a tale of woe and triumph and there’s even a random not-sure-it-even-works alien joke worked in there for good measure. Plus I’ll show you exactly how to get this exact coffee table if you want to pull this same hack at your house (it is BEGINNER LEVEL EASY).
Let’s back up for a second. You know how sometimes you dream about an item that doesn’t exist and you’re like “I like this one thing but wish it had that other top or that other wood finish.” Like you want to pull a Frankenstein combo move and merge three things together?
Continue reading Our Stone-Topped Coffee Table Hack at Young House Love.

Moving from Data-Driven to AI-Driven: The Next Step in the Evolution of Business Workflows

This post is an adaptation of the article that originally appeared in HBR.

Many companies have adopted a “data-driven” approach for operational decision-making. While data can improve decisions, it requires the right processor to fully leverage it. Many people assume that processor is human. The term “data-driven” implies that the data is to be curated by — and summarized for — humans to process. However, in order to fully leverage the value contained in the data, companies need to bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the workflows and sometimes this means getting us humans out of the way, shifting our focus to where we can best contribute. We need to evolve from data-driven to AI-driven.

Discerning “data-driven” from “AI-driven” isn’t just semantics; it’s distinguishing between two different assets: data and processing ability. Data holds the insights that can enable better decisions; processing is the way to extract those insights and take actions. Humans and AI are both processors, yet they have very different abilities. To understand how to best leverage each it’s helpful to review our own biological evolution as well as how decision-making has evolved in industry.

Just fifty years ago human judgment was the central processor of business decision-making. Professionals relied on their highly-tuned intuitions, developed from years of experience in their domain, to pick the right creative for an ad campaign, determine the right inventory levels to stock, or approve the right financial investments. Experience and gut instinct were all that were available to discern good from bad, high from low, and risky vs. safe.

It was, perhaps, all too human. Our intuitions are far from ideal for use in decision-making. Our brains are inflicted with many cognitive biases that impair our judgement in predictable ways. This is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution where, as early hunter-gatherers, we developed a system of reasoning that relies on simple heuristics — shortcuts or rules-of-thumb that circumvent the high cost of processing a lot of information. This enabled quick, almost unconscious decisions to get us out of potentially perilous situations. However, ‘quick and almost unconscious’ didn’t always mean optimal or even accurate. Imagine a group of our hunter-gatherer ancestors huddled around a campfire when a nearby bush suddenly rustles. A decision of the ‘quick and almost unconscious’ type needs to be made: conclude that the rusting is a dangerous predator and flee, or, inquire to gather more information to see if it is potential prey – say, a rabbit, that can provide rich nutrients. Our more impulsive ancestors – those that decided to flee – survived at a higher rate than their more inquisitive peers. This is because the cost of wrongly concluding it was a predator when it was only a rabbit is relatively low – some forgone nutrition for the evening. However, the cost of inquiring to gather more information when the rustling was actually a predator can be devastating – the cost of life! With such asymmetry in outcomes, evolution favors the trait that leads to less costly consequences, even at the sacrifice of accuracy1. Therefore, the trait for more impulsive decision-making and less information processing becomes prevalent in the descendant population.

The result of this selection process is the myriad of cognitive biases that come pre-loaded in our inherited brains. These biases influence our judgment and decision-making in ways that depart from rational objectivity. We give more weight than we should to vivid or recent events. We coarsely classify subjects intro broad stereotypes that don’t sufficiently explain their differences. We anchor on prior experience even when it is completely irrelevant. We tend to conjure up specious explanations for events when it’s really just random noise (see “You can’t make this stuff up … or can you?”). These are just a few of the dozens of ways cognitive bias plagues human judgment – the very thing we had once placed as the central processor of business decision-making. Relying solely on human intuition is inefficient, capricious, fallible and limits the ability of the organization.

Data-Driven Workflows

Thank goodness for the digital revolution. Connected devices now capture unthinkable volumes of data: every transaction, every customer gesture, every micro- and macroeconomic indicator, all the information that can inform better decisions. In response to this new data-rich environment we’ve adapted our workflows. IT departments support the flow of information using machines (databases, distributed file systems, and the like) to reduce the unmanageable volumes of data down to digestible summaries for human consumption. The summaries are then further processed by humans using the tools like spreadsheets, dashboards, and analytics applications. Eventually, the highly processed, and now manageably small, data is presented for decision-making. This is the “data-driven” workflow. Human judgment is still in the role of central processor, yet now with summarized data as a new input.

While it’s undoubtedly better than relying solely on intuition, humans playing the role of central processor still creates several limitations.

We don’t leverage all the data. Data summarization is necessary to accommodate the throughput of human processors. For as much as we are adept at digesting our surroundings, effortlessly processing vast amounts of ambient information, we are remarkably limited when it comes to processing structured data. Processing millions or billions of records of structured data is unfathomable; we can only processes small summaries – say, total sales and average selling price rolled up to a region level. Yet, summarized data can obscure many of the insights, relationships, and patterns contained in the original (big) data set. Aggregate statistics like sums and averages don’t provide the whole picture needed for decisions 2. Often a decision requires understanding the full distribution of data values or important relationships between data elements. This information is lost when data is aggregated. In other cases summarized data can be outright misleading. Confounding factors can give the appearance of a positive relationship when it is actually the opposite (see Simpson’s and other paradoxes). Yet, once data is aggregated it may be impossible to recover the factors in order to properly control for them3. In short, by using humans as central processors of data, we are still trading off accuracy to circumvent the high cost of human data processing.

Data is not enough to Insulate us from cognitive bias. With humans in the role of central processors, the data summaries are directed by humans in a way that is prone to all the same biases mentioned earlier. We direct the summarization in a manner that is intuitive to us. We ask that the data be aggregated to segments that we feel are representative archetypes. Yet, we have that tendency to coarsely classify subjects intro broad stereotypes that don’t sufficiently explain their differences. For example, we may roll up the data to attributes such as geography even when there is no discernible difference in behavior between regions. There’s also the matter of grain – the level to which the data is summarized. Since we can only handle so much data we prefer a very coarse grain in order to make it digestible. For example, an attribute like geography needs to be kept at a region level where there are relatively few values (i.e., “east” vs. “west”). Dropping down to a city or zipcode level just won’t work for us as it is too much data for our human brains to process. We also prefer simple relationships between elements – we’ll approximate just about everything as linear because it’s easier for us to process. The relationship between price and sales, market penetration and conversion rate, credit risk and income — all are assumed linear even when the data suggests otherwise.

Alas, we are accommodating our biases when we drive the data.

AI-Driven Workflows

We need to evolve further to bring AI into the workflow. For routine decisions that only rely on structured data, we are better off delegating decisions to AI. AI does not suffer from cognitive bias4. AI can be trained to find segments in the population that best explain variance — even if they are unintuitive to our human perceptions. AI can be trained to find segments in the population that best explain variance at fine-grain levels even if they are unintuitive to our human perceptions or result in thousands or even millions of groupings. And, AI is more than comfortable working with nonlinear relationships, be they exponential, power laws, geometric series, binomial distributions, or otherwise.

This workflow better leverages the information contained in the data and is more consistent and objective in its decisions. It can better determine which ad creative is most effective, the optimal inventory levels to set, or which financial investments to make.

While humans are removed from this workflow, it’s important to note that mere automation is not the goal of an AI-driven workflow. Sure, it may reduce costs, but that’s only an incremental benefit. The value of AI is making better decisions than what humans alone can do. This creates step-change improvement in efficiency and enables new capabilities. This is evolution of the punctuated type.

Leveraging both AI and Human processors in the workflow

Removing humans from workflows that only involve the processing of structure data does not mean that humans are obsolete. There are many business decisions that depend on more than just structured data. Vision statements, company strategies, corporate values, market dynamics – all are examples of information that is only available in our minds and transmitted through culture and other forms of non-digital communication. This information is inaccessible to AI, yet can be extremely relevant to business decisions.

For example, AI may objectively determine the right inventory levels in order to maximize profits. However, in a competitive environment a company may opt for higher inventory levels in order to provide a better customer experience, even at the expense of profits. In other cases, AI may determine that investing more dollars in marketing will have the highest ROI among the options available to the company. However, a company may choose to temper growth in order to uphold quality standards. In other cases still, the selection of the best marketing creative for an ad may require considerations that AI can’t make (see “Hollywood vs. The Algorithm”). The additional information available to humans in the form of strategy, values, and market conditions can merit a departure from the objective rationality of AI. In such cases, AI can be used to generate possibilities from which humans can pick the best alternative given the additional information they have access to5.

They key is that humans are not interfacing directly with data but rather with the possibilities produced by AI’s processing of the data. Values, strategy and culture is our way of reconciling our decisions with objective rationality. This is best done explicitly and fully informed. By leveraging both AI and humans we can make better decisions that using either one alone.

The Next Phase in our Evolution

Moving from data-driven to AI-driven is the next phase in our evolution. Embracing AI in our workflows affords better processing of structured data and allows for humans to contribute in ways that are complementary.

This evolution is unlikely to occur within the individual organization just as evolution by natural selection does not take place within individuals. Rather, it’s a selection process that operates on a population. The more efficient organizations will survive at higher rate. Since it’s hard to for mature companies to adapt to changes in the environment, I suspect we’ll see the emergence of new companies that embrace both AI and human contributions from the beginning and build them natively into their workflows.

References and Footnotes

[1]↩ Shermer, Michael. “Patternicity: Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise.” Scientific American. N.p., 1 Dec. 2008.

[2]↩ This is not to suggest that data summaries are not useful. To be sure, they are invaluable in providing basic visibility into the business. But they will provide little value for use in decision-making. Too much is lost in the preparation for humans.

[3]↩ The best practice is to use randomized controlled trials (ie A|B testing). Without this practice, even AI may not be able to properly control for confounding factors.

[4]↩ It should be acknowledged that there is a very real risk of using biased data that may cause AI to find specious relationships that are unfair. Be sure to understand how the data is generated in addition to how it is used.

[5]↩ The order of execution for such workflows is case-specific. Sometimes AI is first to reduce the workload on humans. In other cases, human judgment can be used as inputs to AI processing. In other cases still, there may be iteration between AI and human processing.

How to Insert a Trendline in Microsoft Excel

Showing changes in data over time is one of the most common visualization tasks, and Excel makes it easy to create charts that do just that. Line charts and bar charts work quite well on their own for this, but if you want to get a more general big-picture sense of what the data is doing, it makes sense to add a trendline. They come in several different flavors, ranging from basic linear to the more specialized exponential and logarithmic. Adding and manipulating them, though, is quite straightforward. Related: How to Create a Dropdown List in Microsoft Excel Generating the trendline If you’re using… Read more

How to View Code Documentation Offline with Zeal

If you’ve written any code, you probably agree that programming involves reading documentation, lots of it. In many cases, the time spent reading documentation and other code exceeds the actual time writing code. And since that documentation is more often than not accessed on the Web, a significant portion of time is wasted finding the information you’re looking for and waiting for it to load. These small delays can be frustrating, especially with slower connections, and can quickly add up to minutes, or hours, of lost productivity. Besides, a constant Internet connection, which is not always available, is required to access that information, Fortunately, you… Read more