Archive for the 'Wisdom' Category

How most companies’ policies get established

True? True! Laugh IT loud on the Monkey Experiment:

Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling.

Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable. Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up. Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.

One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious. But undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder.

All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why.

However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.

A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him.

This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he’s not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he’s attacking the new monkey.

One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.

And that is how most companies’ policies get established.



Recently I came along Johnnie Moore´s post in which he comments on a presentation that Dave Snowden held in Singapore on “Complexity in Government“.

And I agree that in slides and podcast there is serious food for thought.

One quick takeaway:

In nature, stability and resilience are opposed. A stable system lacks resilience and a resilient systems lacks stability. So it’s ok to stabilise things if you’ve got certainty of future; if you’ve got uncertainty you can’t afford stability you’ve actually got to introduce inefficiency.. if you don’t have a degree of inefficiency in the system it loses its evolutionary potential.

Closed platforms are like ice cubes in a glass of water

Closed platforms are like ice cubes in a glass of water. They float for a while. They change the temperature of the liquid. Ultimately however, the ice cube eventually melts into the wider web.

Jean-Marc Liotier in a comment to an worth reading article in the LA Times about Twitter (which is down at the moment…)


McCarthy’s Four Laws of Software Estimation.

Some principles from Michael “Mac McCarthy, repackaged and labeled by Alan Zeichik :

The First Law: If you ask a developer for a project estimate, and if he thinks the project is a good idea or would pose an interesting challenge, then he’ll say, “three weeks.”

The developer has no idea how long it will take, but “three weeks” sounds encouraging enough that you’ll probably go ahead with the project.

The Second Law: If you ask a developer for a project estimate, and if he thinks the project is a bad idea or wouldn’t be fun to work on, then he’ll say “six months.”

The developer still has no idea how long it will take, but “six months” sounds negative enough that you’ll probably say, “never mind.”

The Third Law: Whether the developer estimated “three weeks” or “six months,” if the project proceeds it actually will take a minimum of nine months.

That’s because, Mac says, developers are bad at software estimation.

The Fourth Law: When asked why the project is behind schedule, the developer will blame inadequate or incomplete specifications

Simply the truth. (via vowe@twitter)

Der Unterschied zwischen Leistung und Erfolg

Michael Groß im Gespräch mit der FAZ:

Sie haben innerhalb von 24 Stunden zweimal Gold gewonnen. Waren das die zwei intensivsten Tage ihres Lebens?

Nein. Was intensiv war, war der 30. Juli. Da habe ich die 100 Meter Delfin mit Weltrekord gewonnen, relativ überraschend, es war ein Kopf-an-Kopf-Rennen mit dem damaligen Weltrekordhalter Pablo Morales. Wenn ich ein Rennen nennen sollte, das nahezu perfekt gelaufen ist in meinem Leben, dann ist es dieses. Dann war eineinviertel Stunden später die 4×200-Meter-Kraulstaffel. Da sind wir viereinhalb Sekunden unter dem Weltrekord gewesen, ein traumhaftes Rennen, es hat eigentlich alles gepasst. Und trotzdem sind wir nur Zweiter geworden, hinter den Amerikanern. Das hat mich bis heute insofern geprägt, weil ich den Unterschied zwischen Leistung und Erfolg gelernt habe. Du kannst die höchste Leistung bringen und trotzdem nicht erfolgreich sein.

What makes a weblog a weblog?

Oldie, but Goldie. By Dave Winer. From 2003, but still fresh.

Rather than saying “I know it when I see it” I wanted to list all the known features of weblog software, but more important, get to the heart of what a weblog is, and how a weblog is different from a Wiki, or a news site managed with software like Vignette or Interwoven. I draw from my experience developing and using weblog software (Manila, Radio UserLand) and using competitive products such as Blogger and Movable Type.

A dog could have managed the ’90s

Says GE CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt to managers at GE:

You were put on Earth for this moment. A dog could have managed the ’90s. Anybody could have, but only the best can do 2009!