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A Starting Mathematical Formula for My Life: YMB t2008_0326 v1 March 26, 2008

Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions.
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Last Saturday I was taking a time out at the local Starbucks, just catching up on reading material from “The Folder”, (being currently a collection of obscure writings on action, language, language action, deadline busting, elliot waves, wise organizations, management practices, and a doctoral course), when entered a sprightly local mathemetician, whom I’d not yet met, to share the couch.

And a wonderful conversation ensued in which I was returned to my enthusiasm and joy for the topic of mathematics. A topic that although I do have a degreed specialization in, I didn’t quite take to a zenith … but I’ve a respectible library (including Dynamical Chaos, which i have read – at least a portion) and a brain that can actually follow and visualize the referred reality which proofs purport to prove. So it really is an area I dip into from time to time. Purely for enjoyment, that is.

Now, not quite a week later from that chai induced connection, I was updating my Professional (about) page here, and in doing so referenced a note from over dinner few weeks back when JW told me how he saw me professionally. He expressed that special combination of traits he perceived, which I happened to capture on a nearby scrap … as an equation.

Well of course, one thing led to another, and so here I am now with the (don’t try this at home) formula for a particular view of a “me” … vis,

[SF:{1/9 nuclear family + 14(dance + drama + music + art)} * {SoCal(mathematics/computer science)^systems + (5*systems:design, 5*business:project management)} + Berkeley{(2*manager:product dvlpmt, 3*consulting services manager:design/modeling tools, 3*entrepreneur:advisor, 10*consultant:facilitator)^(28*meditator) +SF(2.5*dialogue host) + Worldwide(6*transformational program participant)–>5*focus:BoostingBrilliantPeople}] ^female

= an insight generator, effective with groups, under pressure, and at any interface … with a listening that opens vast new territories for thinking and exploration … and an ability to call new creations into being.

I assure you that it didn’t start like this – the first rendition had only 5 terms and of course, the math is very simple – mostly arithmetic.  Since Mom didn’t understand the notation, for clarification I offer: * means multiplied by, / means divided by, ^ used for the exponent, -> expresses yields, : indicates function of and here numbers are mostly years). So I’ve probably butchered the expressions of logic which I can’t quite remember or didn’t take the time to find proper symbols for. (Will definitely have to send the link on this post to MK for correction.)

I wonder: are there already in the world much more elegant or complex logics and algebras for documenting such interacting characteristics? Has anyone tried to document a particular life in a formula? How would I show the important influences in the train of my thinking such as the incident of meeting MK in the Starbucks?

In the title to this post, I just added “t” for time and “v” for version. Perhaps if we review the formula and refine it over time, we’ll have a few data points and can begin to discern pathways of development. Or maybe such a elemental expression of skills and interests can be used in some kind of matching function, for e.g. candidates and opportunities.

I’m curious what the formulas for my friends would look like. I’ve since sent this to my family and requested their various submittals (the other 8/9ths), wondering if we can put these together and somehow come up with 1 or a maybe even a predictive expression of “whither the next generation?” Maybe we’ll only get input from the analytic side of the family and then have an unbalanced view that excludes the artistic. We’ll have to stick a variable (alpha)in for the artistic side of the family. Maybe put a log on it for the pronounced influence of their undeclared status.

What would each person choose to highlight about their lives? Like all modeling exercises, something important is always left out – like that I really like a good cup of chai or that grandma taught me how to thread a needle.

So here’s a challenge for your spare time, exploration, and re-creation: create a mathematical formula that captures the important features of your life, or who you are professionally, or what your mix of interests are, or where you spent your time today … and be sure to indicate the meaning or function of the symbols by which the terms are related.

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