“Weeding out the wankers” – Part 7

This book can be purchased at: http://ijgbooks.com/weeding.html

Today lets take a look at Chapter 6 “If you are a butcher, everything is a piece of meat”


The title for this chapter has to do with high tech leaders and their ability to adapt to the rapid change that has been inherent in our industry for the last 30 years.

My interpretation of this text is that in many cases new tools are used to create a new version of the same old thing or in other words, If you are a butcher, everything is a piece of meat.

In the tech industry, recreating the wheel is doomed to fail. Successful tech companies, keep all their options open, which means product evolution is a rapid and frequent occurrence. If you want to keep up with innovators like Intel and Apple you have to constantly think outside the box and be two steps ahead of the competition. How’s that for metaphors?

Ibrahim notes on page 79 that it seems to be the same people innovating. The business cards change but it’s the same names.

I’m pretty sure that I’m taking this point out of context, but In my case for example, I have never been concerned with other people taking credit for my innovations. Intel has been quoted as saying that they are not worried about people copying their designs because they are moving too fast to ever be caught and that they are ripping the pavement up behind them as they go. I’m on that page.

I know that there are people who take credit for my work, but I pity them because, design is an iterative process and I will continue to innovate. Rev 2 will always be better than rev 1 and the people who build on other peoples innovations lack the ability to evolve.

On page 80 Ibrahim writes:

“Many organizations don’t revisit the cost of ownership in a manner that takes into account the cost of operationalizing the technology and its ongoing maintenance.”

On Page 81 he makes another interesting observation:

“Equipment costs typically represent around 30 per cent of the total cost of ownership on a networking project”

In this case I believe that Ibrahim is referring to the costs associated with commercializing a product in an organization with a complex delivery process. I can’t say that either of these two statements is accurate for the smaller companies where I have worked. I have always been very conscious of the cost of deploying a new technology and how that effects the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Smaller companies can get by with a lighter weight process and that directly effects the TCO.

Ibrahim ends this chapter with more guidelines for recognizing Wankers.

“So if you are told to shut up and do something a certain way because that is how it has been done before or that this is the wonderful new world without the proper explanation, the person telling you is a wanker.

If your are told to invest time and effort on activities that will yield trivial results, the person telling you is a wanker.

And if you are told that one size fits all, you are listening to another wanker.”

The last point here is very important. I have been involved with a number of start-ups and delivering a working solution to an end customer is often the only way to differentiate your product offering.

Organizations that create teams to understand customer requirements and build solutions, are the ones that will succeed. When a company believes that it knows more about what the customer needs than the customer, they are bound to fail.

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