Tuesday Jun 27, 2006

They're Everywhere

Paul Murphy compares Sun and Ford and says that we "can't seem to monetise [our] research" due to issues with middle management:

Want to lose your credibility at either company? make yourself responsible for a breakthrough product or strategy that fails -- in big organizations there's always someone who can retroactively prove he warned you of the certainty of failure if what you do goes wrong; and it doesn't matter if that's a sales compensation policy change, or a part that becomes a million car recall; there's always someone.

I love this observation generally, but it's true of all organizations. Every company has its predators and antibodies. Every university. Every government agency. Every institution of every size absolutely everywhere at every level. I believe these guys are in the distinct minority, but they carefully use fear to build the perception that they are in control and you are wrong. They are usually weaker than we think, but many of us end up following and giving them power. I've kept my own list of these guys over the years, and I can trace them all the way back to grade school. They are just the same people recycled in different skin. I've met them here at Sun, sure, but Sun is also a culture particularly tolerant of risk-taking, and it's not a culture of blindly following bullies. That's one thing I appreciate about this place.
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