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Comment Re:Take responsibility and stop the magical thinki (Score 1) 216

I prefer "responsibility"; "ownership" is, IMO, misapplied here. (Though, arguably, one of the reasons people do not take responsibility is because they don't, in fact, have ownership -- but ownership is a material relationship, and responsibility is the relevant attitude.)

But I think in substance we generally agree.

We do, I think the difference is that my experience has been fixing projects starting from a technical complaint to an outside organization and helping those in an IT/Technology organization drive changes up thru their organization, often into the CEO space when needed. From your choice of wording, I suspect, your experience in this might start higher up the product chain.

Until you have staff, from the CEO down, that own problems, from the mess in the coffee room to server down time, you will have a "business house of cards" no matter how good the process. In fact, most of the time, fixing things involves re-writing and/or reconsidering process - usually starting with asking the question - "Do we really need that?"

You kind of contradict yourself there: if fixing things usually requires changing the process, then "how good the process" is obviously has fairly direct bearing on success. The key thing is that processes aren't good (or bad) in a vacuum, they are good or bad based on the effects they have in your organization, in acheiving your mission; the same nominal process that is good for a group of people when considered against one mission is going to be bad for the same group of people when considered against different goals, and the same process that is good for one group of people with a given mission will suck for another group of people with the same mission, because people matter.

I probably expressed that poorly. To put it another, hopefully more correct way - For organizations you can help (there are plenty that are unreceptive to this kind of help) you have to have to start with the culture. Identify those who have true involvement, are willing to risk take, have decision power... and get all of them committed before you can fix the process, which then finally lets you help fix the bugs/tech. Lather, rinse, repeat till organization functions.

In particularly ill organizations, there is no way to separate these items (or the combatant parties :-)) long enough to obtain a fix. You have to wait till the financial realities drive some common sense into the organization. Sadly, for many businesses, this is too late

Comment Re:Take responsibility and stop the magical thinki (Score 4, Insightful) 216

I'm going to tackle some of the conceptual problems that are hinted at above, which is usually where the difficulties lie, usually in trying to use the wrong software and expecting to somehow "make everything better" if you just make it work "my way" - the true "Magical Thinking".

I tend to agree with your conclusions, "wipe the slate clean" is a drastic action. I disagree with some of the approach you use to arrive at them:

a.) Problems are solved by people being invested in solving them, not process. This requires the antithesis of "Units" - Ownership; Ownership in the company, Ownership of the mission, and a direct heart felt connection to the success of the company. Until you have staff, from the CEO down, that own problems, from the mess in the coffee room to server down time, you will have a "business house of cards" no matter how good the process. In fact, most of the time, fixing things involves re-writing and/or reconsidering process - usually starting with asking the question - "Do we really need that?"

b.) Sometimes you really do have a train wreck on your hands. If you have mastered a.) b follows almost effortlessly, because now, you can *talk* about this behemoth that is eating your company and everybody sees the discussion for what it is, not empire building or managerial fingerprinting.

when you run into a train wreck - assess your tech problem - is the fix easily found? Are your processes using the software at cross purposes? if so, which is cheaper to fix? No amount of bug fixing will repair using the wrong software. It won't even fix using the right software in the wrong way.

In the end, re-asses often, be frugal, not cheap, if it truly is a requirement to run your business, buy the most appropriate. If you've made the mistake of buying a Kenworth long hauler when you needed 3 old UPS trucks - admit it, sell it back, take your loss and get what you really need.

Thats not "magical thinking" it's just common sense.

Comment on June 30th of this year.... (Score 1) 409

I chose "laid off" because that is a relative certainty. After 17 years with the company, joining as employee #12 and working my way thru a variety of positions, hanging around after the aquisition by a megacorp - there's very little stupidity I haven't already seen and know I can outlast.

They are closing our old startup office and moving the remnants to corporate - except those that are going offshore.... I'm declining the move and taking my severance - I think there are a few palm trees in my future - and better opportunities elsewhere.

Comment Re:Hard to take YOU seriously (Score 1) 595

While I agree with you that substance is very important, it is definitely not always the most important thing (or, at the very least, cannot be separate from how you present). While the content is ultimately what will survive, the presentation of something is what captures the attention, makes people take a second to listen a bit more. Heck, even Apple takes advantage of this with the beautiful designs of their hardware. Usability and presentation matters. And, of course, as Jeff Atwood points out: "Pretty things work better." (Not-so-much as they actually work better, but people give them more leeway and are more prone to their ideas.)

Let me ask you - why do you capitalize, use punctuation, and utilize HTML tags in your Slashdot post? That stuff shouldn't matter if the content is there (at least based on your argument). To some extent, you do the same thing.

Comment Similar to regulatory capture. (Score 1) 764

Theres a few sites on the net that look at the corporate backgrounds of most of Fox's "Experts". Almost all of them are in some way linked to the corporations they comment positively on ...

Given that the way you become an expert in something is to do a lot of it, and these corporations are the ones that do it, it's hardly surprising that the experts in the subject tend to have ties to the companies in question.

And it's also hardly a surprise that the "experts" who testify against the companies in question tend to either have little experience in the field or to be government funded academics - both of which have similar conflicts of interest. The former get support from others opposed to the corporations' activities, the latter have an incentive to keep their government sponsors happy, which involved promoting the expansion of their power.

Expertise - real or perceived - comes with life experience that tends to create conflict of interest and always creates the perception of it.

This is similar to the phenomenon of "regulatory capture" - where the governmental organizations with oversight authority for an industry hire experts in the industry - and end up with people who have ties to the companies and/or an incentive to regulate in their favor to avoid crashing their own careers and/or to get a cushy payoff job once they leave the regulatory organization.

Because you'll always find the perception of conflict of interest when dealing with an "expert" you'll have to make your own determination whether any given one of them has the integrity to tell the truth rather to look out for his own interests, and has the knowledge to know what the truth is.

Comment Re:Real world already knows this (Score 1) 172

The city I moved from last year upgraded all their meters to electronic ones. When you arrive you punch the spot number into a machine that takes coins or credit. You can also add money from your phone, so you don't need to return to fill up the meter. Enforcement is by a Google Streets-style car that drives around and records license plate numbers. There's no discretion. If your car is there when they go past and you haven't paid, you get a ticket.

I've never heard of a meter maid covering up a parking signs. I'm not American though. Perhaps you have more corruption than we do.

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