I’m getting close to my fortieth year in the IT business.
A lot of that time, I’ve spent as a consultant. Being a consultant means three things: you’re always an outsider, which probably fits my personality anyway; you see a lot of different companies; and you hardly ever go to a consulting client because they feel like they really have it together and under control — you have a lot of chances to see a lot of different companies in different difficulties.
A little over two of those years were spent working in the previous incarnation of Sun’s Startup Essentials program, and put me in the position of seeing probably 200 startup companies over the course of those two years. Something that really struck me as I did this, and as I’ve done other consulting, is that when you visit so many companies in more or less difficulty (all startup companies are in difficulty, by definition) you notice that not only are they doing things that make trouble for themselves — one might even say dumb things — but they tend to do the same dumb things.
You also get really really tired of seeing those same dumb things, over and over. So, for years, I’ve been accumulating notes for a possible book, which I tentatively call Not Rocket Science: Why Companies and Other Big Organizations Act Like Idiots, and What Can Be Done?
A lot of this is an attempt to put in writing, and in a somewhat final form, the rants I’ve been ranting about business, going back to my time with my family’s business starting in the 60’s. At this point I have many boxes of index cards and many outlines for the putative book, but I want to expose the idas to some further thought and criticism before I write it. So I’ll be posting pieces under the “Business and Organization” category as they come along, based on these notes, and on what I see day to day.
Names will be changed, but only to protect the innocent. The guilty can look out for themselves.