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This article and the comments remind me of a paper written by David Casagrande titled 'Information is a verb.'

When we relay information (aka communicate), many of us think of it as a noun (nice connection to the tree in your - Duncan's essay).

But the deeper you go into the process of 'receiving' information, it becomes apparent that context and the recipient's priors can overtake the information intended by the 'relayer.' (don't think that's a word).

Even when you are dealing with relaying data (arguably less ambiguous than abstract concepts), there's a distribution of interpretations that surprise (and often do not delight!)

I like the concepts suggested - both 'ruling out' and 'meaning moat.' But I posit that these concepts become more potent when you start with the premise that information is a verb (and not a noun).

This piece is smart and thoughtful.
There are few 'jobs' where the topic = content. When you study to become and Engineer, your job content has a chance of (at best) being fractionally related to engineering. That's possibly more true for lawyers (if you stay with the practice of law) and definitely more true if you learn a skilled trade (carpentry, etc.)
I'll happily add this lens to my own thinking and my responses when I am asked this kind of question in the future.

This narrative also informs the lack of coordination in Corporate America (or at a minimum, made me think about it). In the words below, consider replacing 'sovereignty' with 'departmental hegemony':

But this is a hard trick to pull of. One needs all the following at once:

  • The area of interest must be limited enough not to scare individual actors away.
  • There must be a crisis serious enough to override all the remaining fear of the sovereignty loss.
  • The proposal must by done at the right time, by the right actor.
  • The chosen area must be impactful enough to be worth the effort.

While the Monnet story involves high stakes and a high order of complexity, the parallels in corporate life span from important and critical to the mundane. And it is the low-stake stuff that brings the worst aspects of tribalism (Sayre's law from academia if you like).

Initiative frees you from corporate bullshit . . . True and to add to that 'a desire to scale' and a limited understanding of the 'limits and implications of growth' tend to bring all that initiative back full circle and into the marshland of corporate bullshit. So when you do take initiative, be clear on what you are seeking and what you are avoiding. Does that make sense?