But way too often, those manager-and-team-member meetings are a waste of time. Here's three ways they go wrong.
As a developer named John writes, “Software development sometimes needs to be allowed to bend the rules/regulations in order to operate efficiently/quickly. Too many times, the rules (e.g., who has access, when, what can be installed, etc.) cause ridiculous delays in cycle time for development or support.”
A classic example is when developers assume always-on connectivity. “The network is not a static monolith that never changes,” one ops staffer noted. “We’re planning a data center network upgrade. It will require disconnecting every server and reconnecting them to the new switches.” That could cause some apps to think the entire world has ended and crash in an untidy heap.
Would you have included different magic spells?
When people talk about the future of technology, especially artificial intelligence, they very often have the common dystopian Hollywood-movie model of us versus the machines. My view is that we will use these tools as we’ve used all other tools—to broaden our reach. And in this case, we’ll be extending the most important attribute we have, which is our intelligence.
Part of what I like is that he sees ways to use technology for good and not for evil:
By the 2030s we will have nanobots that can go into a brain non-invasively through the capillaries, connect to our neocortex and basically connect it to a synthetic neocortex that works the same way in the cloud. So we’ll have an additional neocortex, just like we developed an additional neocortex 2 million years ago, and we’ll use it just as we used the frontal cortex: to add additional levels of abstraction. We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes. We’ll be funnier. We’ll be sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.
If Tolkien’s nerdy use of graph paper feels like a secret message to future Dungeons & Dragons players, then so does his “Plan of Shelob’s lair.” Tolkien’s map of tunnels stocked with nasties—here, a spider named Shelob—would be right at home in any Dungeon Master’s campaign notes. He even marks the place for a classic dungeon crawl feature: “trap.”
I said, "Ooooh!" You will, too."
I agree that both types of learning are important. And that we need to learn to work outside our comfort zones, whatever they are, simply because in "real life" we're going to need to work in all sorts of environments.
I agree, too, when you say, "Group projects and collaborative work are, at best, tools that should be used in only limited roles in the classroom." We're talking about learning situations. That includes socialization, but it also touches on the best way for any given individual to soak up the factual knowledge necessary to get along in life, whether that's understanding Calculus, learning grammar, or writing a term paper. If the environment becomes a barrier to grokking the knowledge, then it adds to the difficulty of learning the subject. That is: If the only way that American History is presented to me is in a big group where I'm supposed to discuss it, and I find it difficult to be around people, I'm apt to end up less interested in American History.
Of course, the notion of using different types of teaching/learning applies more widely than introversion and extroversion. My husband (the extreme introvert) reads a book and applies the knowledge. I learn best when I have someone hovering over my shoulder, giving me slight corrections as I go. Other people like listening to a teacher at the front of the room. Shouldn't education include all of those, so that each of us can get what we need?
“Enjoy this brain twisting, mind-blowing game of knowledge and problem solving. Visit Steve in his office for a job interview and find out if you have what it takes to join Apple’s ‘A’ Team. Will he find you an “insanely excellent” hire or write you off as Team Bozo? Or even worse, subject you to a “Smelly Feet” dismissal?”
Of course, any self-respecting device requires a platform
and development environment and the uLivv has both, the IoDT (Internet of
Departed Things) and TransLivvient, respectively.
Liver is told in the first person
through the eyes of Nate Pennington, who is clearly an alternate universe
version of Steve Jobs. Nate is a cheerful monster, burning with the desire to
disrupt markets, change the world, fail upwards, and drive Reliqueree to a
successful monetization event. Almost completely amoral, he’s a high-tech cross
between Candide and Sammy Glick. Oddly enough, he often does the right thing, though
invariably for the wrong reason, and moves through his entrepreneurial existence
guided by a cloud of auto-generated aphorisms such as “Strong startup CEO
leadership is marked by the ability to blend effective micromanagement with
selective amnesia.” Like many other entrepreneurs, Nate hasn’t drunk the
Kool-Aid--he is the Kool-Aid.
When we first meet him and Ignacio, they’ve just hit entrepreneurial rock bottom, having guided three startups from inception to gruesome failure. Their last company, which drains them of their cash, optimism, and membership in San Francisco’s most prestigious high-tech incubator, is theTogetherhood. Pitched to the local VC community as a risk management system enabling towns and villages to protect themselves against financial downturns and liabilities, the product is actually an online hedge system that manages dead pools where the citizenry can “invest” in such things as local pet and citizenry mortality rates, or, in the words of the appalled incubator director, “monetize municipal evil.”
Making things worse is Nate’s discovery that his Chinese girl friend, Angie, is pregnant and determined that Nate make an honest woman of her, a turn of events which pleases him not all (and reminds us of a famous Cupertino entrepreneur who once upon a time was in a similar position). Despondent, Nate returns home to New York City (where most of the novel’s action takes place) to visit his intolerant, on-the-edge-of senility mother who is sure of only one thing and that is her son should not be marrying a woman whose proper place in life is either to process laundry or perhaps work the takeout counter at the local Peking Garden. Nonetheless, the trip turns out to be inspirational as a meeting with a mysterious Russian “investor,” a visit to his father’s funeral urn, and a chance encounter with a long dead Catholic saint all prime Nate to be ready to ideate a new business paradigm when Steve Jobs’ liver appears for sale on the human spare-parts market.
Now, this is all completely off the wall, but Liver’s narrative is completely deadpan and the story moves at a crackling and hilarious pace. Chapman’s technology background and accurate use of industry sales and marketing buzzwords and jargon helps create the story’s increasingly eerie atmosphere of reality. By the time you’ve finished the book, you’ll be muttering to yourself that maybe there’s a real business model to be found at heart of the tale. This feeling is only heightened when you begin to contemplate that, as Liver points out, you have no legal rights to your DNA or what’s done with it once it leaves the mothership, so to speak. Selling Steve Jobs’ Liver sports a rich cast of supporting characters including Boris, the company’s lonely and lovelorn Russian master coder, May Lei, his one true soul mate, packaging and design impresario Gruezén, who’s a very funny parody of Apple design god Jony Ive, Mother Cabrini, the aforementioned Catholic saint who has an important, though non-speaking role in the book, and yes, Steve Jobs himself, who returns to the industry stage at a major show in persona form and promptly begins taking control of the event, as you would expect.
Liver is perhaps at its funniest when Chapman is taking dead aim at high-tech pretensions, rituals and prejudices. Take as an example his description of the proper way to prepare for DEMO, the industry conference where firms who are preparing to make a dent in the universe launch their latest offerings in front of anticipatory audiences:
“While most attention is paid to the six-minute show-and-tell, there are other lesser-known but still important preparations you need to make to boost your chances of success. In no particular order they are:
If you’re over 30, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
DEMO likes its entrepreneurs to be dewy-eyed and under 30 if at all possible. It’s still sort of OK to be over 30, but you can’t look like you’re approaching 40! (See below.) Excess facial wrinkles, bags under the eyes, and deep gray hair are all no-no’s. There’s a mini-trend for startup CEOs to resort to plastic surgery, but in many cases this is overkill. First spend time watching the cosmetics segments of the QVC channel for useful products that can help. And remember there’s a reason God created Grecian Formula.
If you’re over 40, don’t come.”
I fully expect the characters in Silicon Valley to soon
appear on screen reading Liver. They and the book are a natural bundle.
Check out the authors website
Selling Steve Jobs Liver can be purchased on B&N
Gary Skiba is currently a principal software engineer at RF Code and a partner at investment firm GrokFish. Previously, he has worked at such firms as Katerra, IBM, Ashton-Tate, and Inset Systems. He provided technical advice to the author of Selling Steve Jobs Liver on some of the books technical issues and in regards to the pyschological foibles and quirks of programmers.
"Well, if you can't believe what you read in a comic book, what *can* you believe?!" -- Bullwinkle J. Moose