On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry, killing all 7 astronauts aboard. The disaster was caused by a piece of debris that hit the shuttle’s wing just after launch. Despite the debris strike, the shuttle safely reached orbit and NASA and its partners spent the duration of the shuttle’s mission trying to evaluate how serious the damage was.

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The piece of foam that hit the wing was the size of a small cooler — 20" x 10" x 6". I created this GIF from a NASA video.

The damage was very serious. The debris strike had breached the shuttle’s thermal protection system, causing the extreme heat of reentry to irreparably damage the shuttle.

You can read dozens of documents the team investigating the debris strike…

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This July, Harrison Metal is going to welcome ten of the most talented high schoolers we’ve ever met as paid interns. Over a four week internship, we want to give these students an opportunity to develop their business skills: analytically evaluating challenges, figuring out paths forward, and managing themselves and others.

The interns will spend most of their time doing three things. They will evaluate real business problems and give advice to the executives facing those problems, they’ll tackle simulations and case studies, and they’ll follow their own passions as they prepare and teach a lesson on a business topic…

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When a copy of Amazon’s 1997 shareholder letter appeared in my timeline, I was struck by how clear it was. It’s easy to read. That’s not what I usually think after finishing a shareholder letter.

I wasn’t surprised to realize that the letter hews closely to Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle.

If you’re unfamiliar with the pyramid principle, it’s an indispensable tool for organizing thinking and writing. I’m forever grateful to its creator. The pyramid principle states that clear communication should be structured:

Situation — the state of affairs

Complication — the thing that’s changed, making things harder

Question — the…

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I recently picked up Keith Johnstone’s book Impro: Improvisation And The Theatre. I read it years ago and, leafing through it again, I’m struck again by how good (and weird) the book is.

Simultaneously, I’ve been planning a class on Design Thinking. A core tenet of Design Thinking is to start with empathy— a deep understanding of the user you’re trying to serve. There are many ways to gain understanding for someone and a challenge they’re facing, but the most common way is an interview. Alan Cooper (unsurprisingly) does a great job explaining how trust is core to a successful…

Andrew Humphries

Head of School at Harrison Metal.

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