My Inc.: Organization without the Organization

charles-leadbeater

Organization without the Organization.  Charles Leadbeater discusses how collaboration works in the Web 2.0 world.  Click on the image to watch the still very relevant 2005 TED.com video.

I see what Charles says as a harbinger of what is to come.  Closed source is not the answer.  Open source cannot feed us.  The middle ground: My Inc., personal corporation, is the key.

Link:

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Don’t follow the Tao, Be your own Tao

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more about “Charles Elachi: Leave a New Trail“, posted with vodpod

Lao Tzu and His Tao

Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching thought he had found The Way, but he only inspired followership and conformity.  No religion’s path is the way for anyone except the religious leader who made it.  If you want to be a leader you have to depart from every path that has been laid and make your own path.

The Tao of Military Incompetence

Norman Dixon in The Psychology of Military Incompetence lays out characteristics of incompetence:

  1. An underestimation, sometime bordering on the arrogant, of the enemy.
  2. An equating of war with sport.
  3. An inability to profit from past experience.
  4. A resistance to adopting and exploiting available technology and novel tactics.
  5. An aversion to reconnaissance, coupled with a dislike of intelligence (in both senses of the word).
  6. Great physical bravery but little moral courage.
  7. An apparent imperviousness by commanders to loss of life and human suffering among the rank and file, or (its converse) an irrational and incapacitating state of compassion.
  8. Passivity and indecisiveness in senior commanders.
  9. A tendency to lay the blame on others.
  10. A love of the frontal assault.
  11. A love of ‘bull’, smartness, precision and strict preservation of ‘the military pecking order’.
  12. A high regard for tradition and other aspects of conservatism.
  13. A lack of creativity, improvisation, inventiveness and open mindedness.
  14. A tendency to eschew moderate risks for tasks so difficult that failure might seem excusable.
  15. Procrastination.

JPL and the New Tao

When I came across this presentation on the work of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I welcomed the advice of the engineers: Don’t follow the path, go instead where no one has gone before and leave a trail.

This concurs with an article I recently read in strategy & business “China’s Long Road to Innovation”. And that is there are so many companies concerned about profit margins that they do not have the long term vision to invest in research and development.  As a result, there is little to no innovative culture, just imitation.

Making a New Tao in Technology

When I look at relational databases, I see an exhausted potential.  When I talk to relational database designers, I do not hear innovators, I hear regurgitators.  The universe is not cartesian, why should our data be?

The minds controlling our data are atrophied.

Making a New Tao in Work Habits

9 to 5 work is horse shit.  Hierarchical coordination obstructing communication is horse shit.  In person meeting is horse shit.  Physical libraries are horse shit.  We have technology that allows us to work when we as individuals are most productive.  We have communication technology that makes management that sequesters itself from front line employees obsolete.  We have technology that allows us to collaborate without anyone having to be physically present in a meeting room.  We have the internet where physical libaries can be digitized.  Why should our employers have to insist on the overhead of individual workspace, coordination costs, meeting space and libaries when employees can be equipped to work from their own home online where, according to an IDC Mobile Worker report, they are 20% more productive?  In person private “meatings” can be arranged in temporary spaces rented by the hour.  In person semi-private meatings can be arranged in corporate clubs.  In person open meatings can be arranged in a coffee shop.

The minds controlling our workplaces and workstyles are atrophied.

A Personal Decision

Personally, I’ve left the path.  I pay the price for it daily, because making a new trail doesn’t necessarily mean you are crossing flat, open ground.  It often means cutting through the undergrowth in uneven terrain.  It often means dead ends, wrong directions and retracing your steps, but it also means serendipty, discovery and breakthroughs.

I have been criticized for coining new terms freely, for thinking in images instead of words.  New terms liberate us from old definitions and conventional thought.  A dictionary reflects the organic growth of language, it is a reference built after the fact, not an ordinance built before.  Images free us to think conceptually in thousands of words at a time.  Just think about how many lines of code there are in visual interfaces like Autocad.

Don’t follow the Tao, be your own Tao.

Social Psychology: Escaping the Prisoner’s Dilemma

For the past several decades the Prisoners’ Dilemma has been a dominant frame in Game Theory. It’s quadrant model has crossed the boundaries of many disciplines especially political science, economics, business, biology, computer science and philosophy. There are also the games Stag Hunt, Chicken and Hawk-Dove which are 2×2 games. My argument in this post will be that the Prisoners’ Dilemma is not adequately representative of reality.

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The Prisoner’s Dilemma was originally framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher while working on game theory at RAND in 1950 which Rand pursued because of possible applications to global nuclear strategy.
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Albert W. Tucker formalized the game with prison sentence payoffs and gave it the “Prisoners’ Dilemma” name (Poundstone, 1992).

The game has two prisoners who cannot communicate and each has only two moves:

  1. to conceal their guilt or
  2. reveal their guilt

They are aware of the potential outcomes of their actions as follows:

pdmatrix01.jpg

The canonical payoff matrix for the game is represented as follows:

pdmatrix025.jpg
In “win-lose” terminology represents the game in the following manner:

pdmatrix03.jpg

The flaw I see in the Prisoners’ Dilemma is that it only provides the following payoffs:

  1. Win-Win (Collaboration)
  2. Win Much-Lose Much (Exploitation)
  3. Lose Much-Win Much (Exploitation)
  4. Lose-Lose (Altercation)

It does not provide for Win-Lose or Lose-Win (Distribution). The absence of distribution may be suitable for Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) games, but not for most other human transactions. Consequently the Prisoners’ Dilemma can be presented as follows:

pdmatrix10.jpg

Now, I am going to take a different tack with the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

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I am going to view it from the perspective of Stephen B. Karpman’s Drama Triangle, a concept derived from Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis. However, I am going to adhere to game theory’s premise that the players are rational.

Stephen categorized interpersonal transactions into three roles:

  1. Persecutor
  2. Rescuer
  3. Victim

In the Prisoners’ Dilemma there are only the Rescuer and the Persecutor:

pdmatrix09.jpg

In what I will call the Transaction Triangle game there are three roles and thus three moves:

pdmatrix11.jpg

In “win-lose” terminology the Transaction Triangle is as follows:

pdmatrix07.jpg

And the canonical payoff matrix is as follows:

pdmatrix12.jpg

As you can see, distribution is incorporated into the model to provide for most human transactions while still preserving the key components of the Prisoners’ Dilemma. I also concluded that the lose-lose payoff of the Ultimatum Game was suitable to provide for no transaction taking place. It is time to abandon the 2×2 mindset of mutual assured destruction and adopt a more human and realistic 3×3 game frame.

Further Reading: