Archive for September, 2006
Anyone who has known me for long enough knows that while I’m no fan of Microsoft I love Microsoft Excel. I’ve long believed it is the best written Microsoft product.
My faith in Excel just got smashed.
So I took a list of numbers from a CSV file that should add up to 0. (If you must know I’m mucking with a bill from a service provider thats all fucked up. They missed giving me the proper credit, so I’m detailing for them what the additional credits should be, so we should get to a zero sum.)
For those of you who want to check up on my the initial list is:
So when I add this list up I get 0.00. Excel gets -0.00000000000001609823385706480. I even tried the other way round this and did two intermediate sums where I got 12.89 and -12.89, which Excel Adds up to -0.00000000000001598721155460230.
I can’t figure out what the hell is going on, although I have checked every number to make sure there isn’t a some rounded number being displayed with two digits.. So I’m stumped, and my faith is shattered.
We were discussing in my Organizational Leadership class what would lead to Al Qaida’s destruction. This was my major contribution to the discussion.
A thought to start us out:
I was reading about the boom and bust cycle of technology. The author asserted that Silicon Valley the early 1990s were fertile ground for the growth of the Web. Why? In the late 1980s many companies invested heavily in interactive television, and by the early 1990s they had dismantled their attempts. This left a fertile ground of graphic artists, user interface designers, and other related technical and artistic people to tap in the valley.
I think the best way to understand the best way to destroy Al Qaida is to develop a metaphor.
Think of each society or movement as a tree in a forest, feeding off the nutrients in the soil, sharing the air with those around it, and returning nutrients to the soil. Envision that each leaf is an individual person, and each branch is a group of people.
Farmers understand that certain plants support the growth of other plants by returning nutrients to the soil that a subsequent plant requires. As I understand it soybeans and corn are complimentary in their nitrogen usage; farmers rotate the crops because soybeans place nitrogen in the soil, and corn requires nitrogen from the soil.
In my mind our current attempts at dismantling Al Qaida focus around snipping the branches (apprehending Al Qaida members), and making the air harder to process, which inhibits all trees (increasing security, which makes it harder for people to live their lives.).
Very little attention is being placed on thinking about what nutrients western societies place in the soil. (ideology and actions in the world at large)
The fastest way to kill a tree is of course to cut off all of its branches, but in this case we cannot see all of the Al Qaida tree, and some of the leaves periodically jump from other trees and attach themselves to the Al Qaida tree. We also have trees that react to the nutrients in the soil the same way the Al Qaida tree did, and begin to exhibit some of the same characteristics.
The way to destroy Al Qaida is to deprive it of the nutrients it thrives on. In this case it requires us westerners to take a hard look at what ideologies and actions we propagate world wide, and how those ideologies and actions support al Qaida. This however is not letting the terrorists win. Quite the contrary, it is adapting to prevent the terrorists from having a base to grow from.
Unfortunately and ultimately Al Qaida is an indirect product of and is supported by western society. It is unrealistic if we attempt to think that Al Qaida exists in a vacuum, it has grown up in the sociological eco-sphere that we have helped create.
What does this mean for organizational leadership in general?
Simply that your organization is a product of, influences, and is influenced by the sociological eco-sphere in which it exists. And the organizations around you can be created by what your organization does. Ultimately the world is an interconnected web of organizations, all exerting some force, however small, upon the organizations around it.
So I love NYC… But, usually at this point in my trip to NYC I’m wanting to move here.. But today I’ve not felt that.. I think thats a good sign for Seattle.
I saw Wicked on Broadway today. It is an awesome show all around, great music, great design, excellent acting, and above all a great message.
I’m at the end of my day and want to get to sleep, but the two ideas that run through it:
- Diversity is important, and is something to be cherished. Those who come from different backgrounds can have valuable, deep meaningful relationships. Additionally, diversity makes us stronger by providing a variety of view points
- Those that appear good can be evil. I saw strong parallels to the third reich in many of the characters that are traditionally perceived as good in the traditional Wizard of Oz Cannon