Archive for the ‘ Business ’ Category

Massive Immorality

This, it seems to me, is the problem with our world. It has become so bad, its immorality cannot be seen – because it is so shocking.

We have to start over – and recognize that moral behavior is essential to our survival – especially in business.

And this means we have to define what moral behavior is. And we have to take this task seriously – and not just brush it aside, as an unimportant consideration.

Our prevailing attitude seems to be “We have to concentrate on making money!” With the implicit assumption, that morality is less important.

Throughout history, people have struggled to make power moral – usually unsuccessfully. And this time will not be any easier. Power Corrupts – and now we have more power to deal with – with the introduction of TV and the Computer.

We have to take a hard look at this new power.

Consider this:

Technology is a powerful force in our society. Data, software, and communication can be used for bad: to entrench unfair power structures, to undermine human rights, and to protect vested interests. But they can also be used for good: to make underrepresented people’s voices heard, to create opportunities for everyone, and to avert disasters.

But this is followed by:

Computing is pop culture. […] Pop culture holds a disdain for history. Pop culture is all about identity and feeling like you’re participating. It has nothing to do with cooperation, the past or the future—it’s living in the present. I think the same is true of most people who write code for money. They have no idea where [their culture came from].

Both of these are from Designing Data-Intensive Applications. A book about designing software.

The second quote is more important – people have no idea where their culture came from – or, for that matter – what it is. They just act it out.

As a person who once wrote code for money, and wrote much else for money – I developed an allergic reaction to it, and dropped out. The people I left behind, who had the same problem – simply ignored it.

The problem was too big for them to deal with. So it continues.

Stupidity can be Overcome by Power

This is a common belief, when any organization (an empire, for example) has passed its peak, and is in decline. The decline is always caused by a collection of stupidities – but the organization thinks it can overcome these by brute force – often military force.

Or it can use political force – forming coalitions that unite against a common threat. Or it can use both together – a very effective strategy – but one that always fails, eventually. The classic case was the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – that tried everything, but eventually failed completely.

Or let us take as an example, the late British Empire that made the British the most powerful, and the richest people in the world – for about one hundred years. I traveled in England in the Seventies, and noted how the Brits had not gotten over their fall to the poorest country in Europe – in less than twenty years.

The same could be said of the American Empire – that controlled much of the world in the Fifties and Sixties. Through a series of stupidities, it has gone into a steep decline. It still exists, but has to share power with other empires in decline – such as Russia.

I saw this in California, in the Eighties and Nineties – when I worked for a series of computer companies – all of whom failed. I began to wonder if a black cloud was following me around.

Computer companies (and software companies) are now beginning to see their stupidity – to see what they had been doing wrong – and figure out how to do it better. This progress is spotty – some parts of some companies have got the message – and other parts have not.

Whether this trend will continue in other industries remains to be seen.

The Perfect Book About the Perfect Woman

Sheryl Sandberg: From Bossy to Boss

This is a puff piece – written to make Sandburg and Facebook look perfect. Hidden safely below its covers are the manipulative mechanisms that Trump used to get into office.

It’s an easy read – and will set you back all of 99 cents.

Read it with the Kindle for PC app.

Making Promises You do Not Keep

This is such a common practice now, few object to it. But it still does not feel right to me – and I want to raise my feeble voice against it.

The common attitude seems to be “The only way to get ahead is doing whatever is necessary to survive in a highly competitive world.” Taking care of other people can wait for awhile.

But taking care of other people cannot wait – it has to be done now, as part of our normal practices – including business practices. This is what makes Business work – honesty. Trading defective products wrecks the entire trading process. It destroys the Market.

But this is going on. It’s all too easy, as life becomes more complicated – to sneak in a little dishonesty – to make a little more money for ourselves, at the expense of others. Nobody will notice. But whether anyone notices or not, does not matter. The atmosphere is poisoned for everyone.

I grew up in an American Midwest that produced most of the world’s products – but it is now a Rust Belt that produces nothing. Too many people were only interest in taking care of themselves – at the expense of others.

The result was the collapse of an entire era.

How I Helped Amazon Improve Their Product

The product was Amazon Web Services (AWS) the fastest growing, and most profitable part of Amazon.

I signed up for a free trial, and everything seemed to be working fine – until everything stopped working! I tried to explain my problem to their technical support – and I kept trying to explain my problem (I am stubborn person) . Finally they send me an email, suggesting a solution – and it worked! And not only that, they followed my suggestion to fix this problem with their other customers – the very next day!

My father used to say “The wheel that squeaks gets the grease!” But that only works if someone is around to apply the grease.

I had an unpleasant experience with another software company today – and I used PayPal to complain to them. At least PayPal is on my side – and I am waiting to see if the company is.

All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries

Financial Post

We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history. The next generation of cars will be “computers on wheels”. Google, Apple, and Foxconn have the disruptive edge, and are going in for the kill. Silicon Valley is where the auto action is, not Detroit, Wolfsburg, or Toyota City. The shift, according to Seba, is driven by technology, not climate policies. Market forces are bringing it about with a speed and ferocity that governments could never hope to achieve.

This is an easy read – all the big guys are reading it – and maybe you should too.

A Survivor of Grief Tells Her Own Story

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

What a terrible title! A better title would be “Success didn’t mean much to me, after my husband died.” But no publisher would have touched it.

People only want to hear good news, not bad news – such as the oldest fact of all – we all die, and this causes suffering to the loved ones we leave behind. Life is full of pain that cannot be eradicated. And we have to recognize this.

The only solution, and a common one – is not to love at all. Or only pretend to love, and pretend it is real.

I have to plead guilty to that charge. I was married to a woman who could not love me – and I married her knowing that. When she died, I did not suffer much. And was even relieved to finally get rid of her memory.

Her story is more complicated. She knew she was overreacting to the death of her husband, but could not help herself. This is also a common story – we are in the grip of forces we cannot understand. The best we can do is recognize this – recognize our craziness. And even write about it.

Which she has done.