Design: Business Design Dimensions

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In my previous post I was thinking about the fundamental components of a business.  Now I want to think about the fundamental contexts and the four dimensions of each context.

Over the next few posts I will be exploring each of these contexts and dimensions.  Personally, I think current data warehouse design is a load of bullshit.  Relational business intelligence is an oxymoron.

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Netular Technology versus Psuedo-Netular Technology

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I have been having a very interesting discussion on Linkedin.com having expressed my opinion about current information technology and the netular  information technology I would like to see.

The people who have been exchanging their views with me cannot see the forest for the trees.  One is offended that I do not rave about all the social transitions the technologies are offering.  Another spews buzzwords like a chainsaw.  Another assumes my opinion is a product of my impatience for the convergence of the existing technologies.

Einstein once said he would spend a majority of his time defining a problem and a fraction of his time solving it.  A majority of the time on information technology is spent solving and a fraction actually taken to understand.  The consequence is most of the solutions out there are not designed, they are hastily assembled patchworks that because of the inertia of being first on the field are only replaced by further patches.

Our entire system of networks is built upon a foundation of linear and tabular architecture that is present in our CPUs, memory, storage, data structures, programming languages, organization, locations, events and goals.  In reality we are only dabbling in networks and doing an abysmal job of using them to their full effect.  We don’t understand them.

Marshall McLuhan said that when a new media is created the first thing we do is pump old media through it.  That is what we are doing now.  We are taking every form of old media we have and pushing it through the internet.  There is not a single case where we have successfully departed from linear and tabular old media.  I have looked at all the current technology, I have used it, I understand its internals and I stand by what I say.

We need a fundamental change in the way information technology works otherwise we are going to continue with an undesigned brute force attempt to solve our problems without ever understanding them.  The outcome will not be progress, but the perpetuation of flat earth thinking.

Linear and tabular thought are responsible for many of the problems we have in the world.  The biggest is the inability to fully appreciate the uniqueness of everything and everyone in this world.  The supreme example of this has been the long history of Religion, Genocide, Slavery, Nationalism, Imperialism, Racism, Eugenics, Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Marxism, Capitalism and Socialism.  All of them fail us because they depended on linear and tabular models of thought that denied the respect of the individuality of all experience.  True netular thought has the potential to challenge all of these misconceptions.  I think it is appropriate that this transition is on the horizon with the rise of globalism.  I doubt it will be a peaceful transition.

Actually, the insights into the underlying order in networks has made quite a bit of progress. One of the leaders in this area is Albert-Beszlos Barabasi who authored the book “Linked” http://www.nd.edu/~networks/Linked/index.html . Another researcher Kwabena Boahen made a fascinating presentation at TED http://tinyurl.com/6nnkb7 . There is also the work of Simon Williams that has come up with a new associative database architecture http://www.lazysoft.com as well as a commercial product, Sentences.

It is time for everyone to fundamentally change the way they think.

25 Bubbles: Information Technology

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1. Service Oriented Architecture will create more problems than it will solve

2. Relational databases have reached the end of their innovative value

3. Object oriented programming is based on a fictional ontology

4. Unified Modeling Language is incapable of abstracting systems

5. Current enterprise architectures are conceptually naive

6. The world wide web is 80 percent data slum surrounding 20 percent data excess

7. The majority of communication on the internet has no goal or purpose

8. Business uses information technology to demonstrate due diligence and then ignores it

9. Merging scientific databases is useless because they have no consistent metrics

10. The central processing unit is an inefficient and ineffective brute force antique

11. Data has never been accurately and precisely represented, understood or stored

12. We do not understand the information technology of genetics

13. We do not understand the information technology of chemistry

14. We do not understand the information technology of physics

15. Information technology is simply a popular metaphor not the reality of the universe

16. Computerized climatological models have no predictive capability at all; our understanding of climate change is hindsight

17. Weather prediction is based on satellite images not computer modeling

18. Computer scientists have no idea what consciousness is nor does anyone else

19. Business models and data models are like oil and water
20. Silicon Valley and every corporation affiliated with it will not save the world

21. Science does not have its rightful place in information technology

22. Little information technology involves design, most of it is craft

23. Calling a programmer an engineer does not make a programmer an engineer

24. Calling a programmer a designer does not make a programmer a designer

25. There is hope, but the people who got us here definitely will not get us there

Databases: Structured Associative Model

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For years now I have been struggling with Relational DBMS technology and Associative DBMS technology attempting to get them to do what I want.  In my first efforts, Relational models were structurally restrictive, Dimensional models were unable to grow organically, EAV models are incompatible with relational architecture.  I came upon Simon Williams Associative Model of Data and although enthralled with its potential I found it too had limitations.  It was semi-structured and allowed for too much flexibility.  25 years in Information Technology had taught me that there was a single standard classification system for setting up databases not a plethora of ontologies.  I was determined to find the theoretical structure and was not concerned with hardware limitations, database architecture, abilties of current query languages or any other constraints.

The Associative Model of Data had made the difference in liberating me from Relational and Dimensional thinking.  A traditional ERD of the Associative Model of Data I at first thought would look like the following:

amdschema

Basically what you have is a Schema composed of Nodes with Node Associations through Verbs and Associations with Nodes Attributions through Verbs. The range of Node Entities, Verb Entities, Association Entities and Attribution Entities are endless.  As well the population of the Schema has an unlimited dataset of natural key values.  I have been challenged by Relational database specialists and SQL experts regarding the viability of this model within current limitations, however their arguments are irrelevant.  What is important is the logical validity of the model, not the physical validity.

After receiving the criticism I decided to revisit the model in order to simplify it.  I went over Simon William’s explanations of his model and its application and found I could reduce it to the following:

amdschema02

This was profoundly simpler and better reflected the Associative Model of Data’s Architecture.  But even with this simpler architecture I was not satisfied.  I felt that the Associatve Model although giving the benefit of explicitly defining the associations was a tabula rasa.  Research has shown that tabula rasa’s are contrary to the behavior of the finite physical universe.  There is an intermediate level of nature and nuture.  And this is what I sought to model.

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When I first encountered the Zachman Framework, something about it struck me in a very profound way.  I could see there was something fundamental in its description of systems, however I felt that the metaphors that John Zachman used were wrong because they themselves lacked a fundamental simplicity.  The consequences of this were that those who studied under Zachman ultimately could not agree on what he was talking about.  Also the “disciplines” that Zachman’s Framework generated were continually reinventing the wheel.  Zachman had created a world of vertical and horizontal stovepipes.  To further the confusion Zachman refused to conceive of a methodology based upon his framework.  Consequently, there was no way to determine what the priorities were in creating a system.  I call this the Zachman Clusterfuck.

Zachman’s work spawned years of work for me.  I could see that systems had a fundamental structure, but I could not agree with Zachman.  Focuses and Perspectives were useless terms.  The construction metaphor was useless.  I read anything I could get my hands on dealing with systems, methodologies, modeling, networks and a broad range of other literature across the disciplines.  Out of this came a set of conclusions:

  1. There were a fundamental set of Noun Entities
  2. There were a fundamental set of Verb Entities
  3. There were a fundamental set of Association Entities
  4. There was a clear order in which the Nouns were addressed
  5. There was a clear order in which the Verbs were executed
  6. The structure was fractal
  7. The content was a scale-free network

I made some attempts at creating the vocabulary and experimented with this new Structured Thinking Language.  However, the real break came when I worked with John Boyd’s OODA Loop:

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The OODA Loop revealed a governing structure for the methodology and guided my way into the following hybrid relational/dimensional/associational model I call the Structured Associative Model of Data:

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One of the key things this model demonstrates is the sequence followed by the OODA Loop.  Starting from the top, each dimension set spawns the next.  Choices are created from the dimensions.  There is no centrism to this model which is an inherent flaw in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Event based architecture, Data centric architecture, Goal-Directed Design, Rule based systems among others.  The stove pipes of Focuses and Pespectives disappear by reasserting a clear order of priorities and dependencies for achieving success.  The model also supports bottom up inductive as well as top down deductive sequencing.  This will make the system able to reconfigure to handle exceptions.

Some of the things I have learned in designing this model include the realization that unit defines datatype and that all measures are variable character string text.  This is because any displayed value is only a symbolic representation of the actual quantity.  If operations are to be performed on measures they are converted to the correct type as part of the operation.  I also recognized that Unit was necessary to define the scale and scalability of the system.  Further, it became apparent that analog calculations should not be practiced.  Every value should be treated as discrete and aggregated.

Another aspect of this system is the inclusion of currency and amount.  I have been critical of Zachman and academics for their hypocrisy regarding the economics of systems.  All systems have a cost and a benefit and they are measurable in currency.  Contrary to the reasoning of the majority, every decision is ultimately economic.

Tim Brown of IDEO has coined the term “Design Thinking” and has been toying with the concept for some time.  Many designers dwell on the two dimensional concept of divergence and convergence as modes of thought.  If we look at my model, divergence is the creation of choice while convergence is selection of choice.  There is no alteration or deletion of choice in my model as history is preserved.

Now what you have is a unencumbered framework with a clear methodological sequence.

czerepakcognitary

Welcome to the Cognitary Universe.

Don’t follow the Tao, Be your own Tao

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.

Zero and Infinity are Fiction

Something has been teasing at my mind as I have been exploring singularites and a term I call “pluralarities” (what a goddamed awkward word).  What has occurred to me is this.  We live in three dimensional space.  There are no such thing as points (zero dimensional objects) or lines (one dimensional objects) or planes (two dimensional objects).  They are complete figments of the imagination.  What is really happening with a point is x, y and z have a default value of one  What is happening with a line is y and z have a default value of one.  What is happening with a plane is z has a default value of one.  However, the mathematicians are always hurling zeros and infinities in when there is not evidence of one in nature.  They make for some great mathematics, but they are terrible physics.  And most physicists think too much like mathematicians.

We run into the same mathematical stupidity in relational databases with null values and cardinalities of zero and infinity–total bullshit.  In physical reality everything is finite and let me explain how to resolve this.

We have to look at Energy, Mass, Space and Time as three dimensional coordinate systems. None of these coordinate systems ever reach a zero state, they reach an alternate state.  Space becomes Mass and Time becomes Energy for example.  An beer glass is never empty, in normal circumstances it is either full of beer or full of space.  And if you know your physics, space is a thing.  Zero is a mathematical and a perceptual trick not a physical reality.

Space, Time, Matter and Energy are three dimensional and finite.  They are all constrained between 1 and n not zero and infinity.  They present one possible state of ( E x, Ey, Ez , Mx, My Mz, Dx, Dy, Dz, Tx, Ty, Tz ) where all the values are greater than zero.

Zero and Infinity a boon to mathematics, but not to physics.

The Greeks were a lot smarter than you think.  Even to the Indians, space was a thing.

Intelligence is not Behaviour but Prediction

Came across a video of Jeff Hawkins of the Redwood Neuroscience Institute explaining brain theory.

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Remember, the above diagram as you view the video. Also think about the Universe of Discourse as explained by James Moffett. The theory has already been hinted at.