I bought my German Shepherd Bodhi a big red ball. He has destroyed every dog toy imaginable; this one made for big cats in zoos seemed the answer. It’s hard plastic and about the size of a basketball. It’s too big for him to bite, his mighty jaws are just not up to the task.
So, we play basketball with it and him. He’s a willing participant but he’s got no shot; having no thumbs or bipedal ability. What he has is rebound skill, enthusiasm, and of course teeth. Wilt, Bill and Kareem were ferocious human rebounders, but even in their prime they’d have nothing on this dog. It’s about drive and nerve, he has more than you do, it’s his ball.
Skill, enthusiasm and tenacity go a long way. It’s quite a production to get a steal from him once it is on the ground. Bottom line for Bodhi is that he still can’t bite the ball. It’s a physics thing, the diameter of the ball is just larger than his jaws will open. That’s never going to change. But he’s not remotely giving up… he will eventually destroy the lion ball. It’s only a matter of time and effort. He is relentless.
Reminds me of the intractable problems we face in screening. Some are just fact based — they can’t be solved no matter how often we bite at them. To name a few:
- Arrests are just arrests. Sometimes innocent people get arrested. Sometimes arrests violate constitutional protections.
- You can’t un-ring a bell. Once an end user has learned something about a person, how do they prove they didn’t use that information to unfairly discriminate? How do they win an argument regarding disparate impact?
- Databases are notoriously flawed. Find something there? Take action based thereon? Buyer beware.
What keeps us and my beast going is the possibility that we aren’t looking at the situation through the right solution lens. Maybe we should nuance, maybe we should try to better understand, maybe we pin it under the truck tire.
It’s important to understand that we have red balls in our space, that we have seemingly insurmountable problems that don’t have easy “bite-you” answers. To name a few:
- Can we accurately and affordably retrieve complete authoritative data from every court in the nation?
- Can we fetch that data the moment it becomes available?
- Can you bite into the data and deliver it in the exact way our customers want it?
There are answers to these “big red ball” problems. They just aren’t easy, simple, or obvious unless we try. Unless we are relentless.
We have to try together every day to solve them. Come join us and see what we can do together.