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{ Category Archives } BOTALI

The bane of modern life.

Botali and Me

Kinda working blue here — that’s the way the Boulder crowd goes.

That’s Me

There I am, giving my talk at Ignite Boulder on Big Organizations That Act Like Idiots.  Here are the slides.

The Cat Herding Principle

It’s legendary how difficult it can be to herd cats. I have observed, however, that it can be possible to convince a bunch of cats to chase the same mouse. (Update: “Chase”, dammit. How many times did I read that over and not see the typo until now?)

Not So Stupid

If you see something stupid, always ask “Is this really stupid? What would make this the smartest possible choice under the circumstances? How is this the most rewarding option of all?” Many times you’ll find that stupid people are smarter than you think.

Carl’s Corollary

Consider two of the axiomatic observations of the General Theory of Idiocy: The SNAFU Principle: “In any social hierarchy, the noise added to a communication between individuals in that hierarchy is directly proportional to the distance between them, and the factor of proportionality will be proportional to the perceived risk to them.” The Multivariate Peter […]

The Multivariate Peter Principle

Most people have heard of the original Peter Principle: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Still, it’s been a long time since Peter’s book, so let’s just recall what he said. Consider any hierarchical system with people in it. Someone starts, say, in the mail room; as an […]

The “Pays Peter” Principle

A corollary to the Law of Rewards: If a system (or people in a system) are doing something stupid and doing it consistently, it’s not stupid. Whatever it is, it’s what the system rewards them for doing.

Course Change

Conway’s Law

“Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” — Jargon File In the computer business, this is often stated as “if an organization with four groups designs a compiler, it will be a four-pass compiler.” Here’s an interesting observation: this is a necessary condition. […]

On the tenure of entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs, successful ones, are unusual people. They are driven, they take risks, they make snap decisions, they work closely — even intimately — with a small cohesive team of skillful people who they trust implicitly and who all have the eventual success of the endeavor as their primary goal. As the entrepreneurial organization grows, this […]