on March 28, 2010 by eldar in Evolutionary Management, Evolutionary Marxism, Knowledge Worker, Comments (0)

Discovery Economy

So far we covered most of the past and the present. Let’s rehearse it:

No, really? Most of our conversations stop here, at the knowledge society. Whenever a question arises, wht’s next, I usually give the speech about “We’ll know when we’ll get there.” True enough. But you know what? I suspect some companies are already there…

There… In the…

Discovery Economy.

I’ve got to this conclusion considering management techniques for the software development industry. Being on the cutting edge, it’s no surprise that this industry produced tons of different controversial management techniques. Waterfall, rad, scrum, xp to name just a few… There are proponents of these techniques, there are opponents of them, but in the end everybody’s question is: “Do they work?” And the answer is: “It depends.”

It depends on the project you manage. It may be a project where everybody knows what to do, it’s just a matter of time and effort. That’s pretty much industrial project, where manager kknows what to do and can measure the outcome. Such project are easy to manage.

There are projects that require domain knowledge. There managers often does not know what to do, but the people do. Naturally, it’s harder to manage, but still doable. You get tasks and estimates form the people, you mange, slap then into a Gantt chart, and you are there.

Unfortunately, I see more and more projects where you have to awe your market which each release, and if you don’t… well… your loss. Do you think Palm, Blackberry, Gmail, or iPod/iPhone could have been managed in one of the ways described above? Not a chance. The problem is, to create such product you need a team where not only managers don’t have any idea of what to do, neither does the file and rank. They just have ability to produce it, but not the ability to describe it before they produced it. How do you manage such projects?

To understand the difference, let’s compare it to a fairy tale.

Once there was a prince. He dreamed of a princess locked in the highest room of the highest tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon… Now, how would he proceed?

In the industrial society, the prince would hire a knight, who goes exactly where prince tells him to go and does exactly what the prince tells him to do. Will it result in a frred princess? Well… that does not work in the fairy tales, not to mention the real life. Neither do industrial socialistic methods in the modern society.

In the knowledge society, the prince would hire a knight, who supposedly knows where to go and what to do. Think Shrek. Yes, it work as long as you have somebody who knows where to go and what to do, details delicately omitted in the “Shrek” movie.

But what if you have no clue even where the castle is? Well, welcome to the discovery economy. Now the prince have to get in the saddle and spend days, weeks, months trying to find at least a clue, where to look for his result. He has to slay irrelevant dragons, converse with ignorant wizards, travel from town to town all over the world collecting pieces of data that will eventually lead him to the princess.

Applying older management techniques to the discovery economy

Clearly, that does not work well for the Far Away Kingdom management and accounting. So, naturally, when faced with failed deliverables, the Far Away Managers come with the management techniques.

Hey, Prince, can you, please, specify your itinerary, every day’s points of departure and arrival, all the dragons, you plan to slay, all the wizards, you plan to converse to and what exact answers do you plan to hear from them??? Yeah, right. If you’d know the answers, why would you need to talk to them in the first place?

Do you see?

More and more companies have to predictably produce outcomes that the world have never seen before. And no existing management techniques work to deliver that.

That’s Discovery Economy.

That’s the economy where every version or a release you have to produce something that will make jaws fall to the floor, and if you don’t – beware!

Granted, if you apply industrial age management techniques, some jaws will fall to the floor… because of yawning. And that’s not what you want. You want an awe…  You want inspire, shock, impress…

You want Google, Prius, iPhone… Can you do that treating your people like a canon meat on early XX century assembly line? I don’t think so.

Ok, it was too long already, so I’ll leave you thinking about what you already read about. Talk to you next time!

Marxism in One Page

on January 3, 2010 by eldar in Evolutionary Marxism, Comments (0)

No, that’s not “Marxism for dummies’. As usual on this site, the use of brain is not optional. However, if you are willing to use that strange organ in your […]


Book review: The Flaw of Averages

on November 29, 2009 by eldar in Reviews, Comments (0)

The author occasionally makes mistakes or uses completely wrong approaches…


Social System of the United States in Pictures

on November 26, 2009 by eldar in Evolutionary Marxism, Comments (0)

What do you think is the social system of the United States? Capitalism?


Smallpox of the American Economy

on November 17, 2009 by eldar in Corporate Parasites, Evolutionary Marxism, Comments (0)

Imagine a group of people, a sort of community, where everyone works together and is supposed to share the results of their joint efforts. There is a hierarchical structure of officials who control the work process and distribution of benefits. People at the top define vision and goals of the whole community. Those who contribute to these goals are rewarded; those who do not contribute are punished. The hierarchical structure of power is used to ensure that. The community may be large enough and encompass hundreds of thousands of people. What would you call such a community?


The real price of a book

on October 28, 2009 by eldar in Corporate Parasites, Personal Notes, Comments (0)

Imagine that you can buy a book and magically instantly know everything that was in the book. Would it be worth $860 or even more?


In Favor of the Intelligent Design Theory (video)

on October 23, 2009 by eldar in Materialistic Theology, Comments (0)

I already wrote a post for that, but now, here is the video:


Guns and morons

on October 15, 2009 by eldar in Personal Notes, Comments (0)

I just could not resist the temptation and answered on the friend’s blog to his “Guns and morons” post:

I just disagree on focusing it on firearms theme. I don’t think that in “moron+gun” the problem is the gun. Just like in “moron+voting”, “moron+car”, “moron+alcohol” or even “moron+ability to procreate”.


Werewolves Guarded My Sleep

on October 14, 2009 by eldar in Personal Notes, Comments (0)

Just got back from the vacation. Only a week long, too short…

“To the best of my knowledge
US is the only country in the world
where vacations are measured by hours.”

As usual I went to a Native Americans reservation La Push to the west of Seattle on Olympic Peninsula.

Colorful Sunset, La Push, WA


In the Year 2000 the Matrix Has You

on October 13, 2009 by eldar in Materialistic Theology, Personal Notes, Comments (0)

I am back. I’ll write more about it soon, but meanwhile I wanted to share a thought. Do you remember the entering subtitle of the movie Matrix? Let me remind you:

In the Year 2000 the Matrix Has You!

While there is a much deeper truth in it, which I will talk about later, consider this circumstantial evidence for now: how often do you see pictures like that:

Flying bird