My podcast with Scorpion Computer Services CEO Walter O’Brien ended up sparking a lot of controversy.
Many skeptics asked pointed questions about Walter’s background, claims, and credentials (often pointing to pages like this or this). This is the first time I’ve run into such an issue with the podcast, so it’s taken me some time to figure out how to best address things.
I struggled with whether or not to take down the episode and associated blog post entirely. In the end, I decided it was more instructive to leave the original up (with a new preface) and add an audio note to the beginning of the podcast (coming soon).
I’m hoping it will help us all improve, especially yours truly.
Here’s my post-game analysis…
The purpose of my podcast is to meet interesting people and attempt to distill tactics you can use. Part of that means taking occasional chances and risks. This episode qualified, and although I enjoyed the conversation, my prep process could have been better.
As context: Walter was originally introduced to me by several well-known names in finance who’ve used him to solve complex real-world problems with high stakes. I assumed they’d done extensive due diligence (which perhaps they did), and I did only a cursory pass myself. This was anomalous behavior for me, and I’ve deservedly suffered blowback from a few listeners when I couldn’t answer many follow-up questions. Lesson learned.
I do think there are valuable takeaways in this episode, but rather than sweep any confusion under the rug, I wanted to tackle it head on.
So, I reached out to Walter with the most common questions.
What I do know — Walter and Scorpion have handled large projects for very wealthy, high-performing clients whose judgment and expertise I generally trust.
What I don’t know and can’t seem to answer — Many of your questions.
To keep things simple, I e-mailed Walter to ask that he respond to some of his skeptics’ most common questions directly. Below are his responses, which you can accept or reject. If you have follow-up questions, I encourage you to take it up with the man himself, as I don’t want to play go-between.
If you’d like to read comments on this episode from other listeners, here is the associated blog post.
As always, thank you all for your feedback. It’s what makes me better.
[Note: If the below formatting is funky and hard to read, I also put it in Evernote here.]
Responses from Walter to Common Questions
You can also see explanations of the differences between the show and real life here and here. And anyone is welcome to write in to Scorpion Computer Services with questions.
To answer a few of the questions here and now using information you can find on the Scorpion Computer Services website:
Why does he claim 6th in the Olympiad but records show Ireland was 90th?
First, there are two different competitions: The Informatics Olympiad or “Information Olympics“, and separately the Wisconsin International Problem Solving competition.
You can see a photo of me with the team (on the right) at the Olympics and an original Olympiad in Informatics certificate of participation signed by the General Secretary of the Government of Mendoza, the President of the International Olympic Committee and the Secretary of Informatics and Development from the Secretary of Science and Technology of the Argentine National Presidency.
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