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Re: [tlug] [OT] Specialized insects and Linux

On 3 November 2015 at 01:01, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

>> [Jack of all trades] would seem to have the same net effect [as
>> extreme specialization].
> That turns out to be false.  In fuzzy set theory the set with zero
> members is not the same as a set which has members, all of which have
> zero membership in the set.  Weird[1] but true.  Only a specialist could
> come up with that!  I'm glad that such people exist and write down their
> crazy specialized knowledge.

You are assuming that fuzzy set theory applies and it may not apply. But even if it applies, it still does not falsify my statement.

I did not say the two are the same, I said they have the same net effect.

Fuzzy sets are sets of probabilities. An empty set has no probabilities. A set of zero probabilities has the effect of no probabilities.

Put in more practical terms, an empty container has the same effect as a ship loaded with empty containers. There is no payload.

> By the way, I *personally* actually feel "jack of all trades" to be
> mildly complimentary, despite the implied, derogatory, "master of
> none."  Better to have tried, and failed, than not to have tried at
> all.  (See, there is a difference that isn't pure philosophical BS!)

Of course I was talking tongue-in-cheek.

Nevertheless, I believe that there is more of a negative bias towards renaissance men/women than there is towards subject matter experts. Undeservedly so.

At a time when everybody is talking about change and how important it is to adapt to an every faster changing world, business environment, society etc etc, we should actually promote the idea of renaissance men/women.

Think about it. What is a jack-of-all-trades an indisputable master of?

A master of change and adaptation !!!

... it's management and
entrepreneurship to exploit the conjunction of needs and the tech that
serves them.

I agree.
  (I know, that's heresy on a tech list.)  But we don't
understand those well enough to teach them;

The trouble is not that we don't know, in fact we know a hell of a lot about proper management, the trouble is that we do not apply what we know.

This has a lot to do with everybody chasing the quick buck. So called share holders (an oxymoron) are the root cause for this evil. They buy and sell on a whim to exploit every possible opportunity to make a quick buck and thereby giving only short term thinking incentives to management. All long term incentives have gone out of the window.

Even MBA programs have quick buck mentality. Some have courses where the word "sustainable" and "responsible" appears in the subject but those are not taken seriously neither by the business schools nor by the students. Their purpose is window dressing. Students take them with as much enthusiasm as that class on religion you needed to do to get through high school.

As for the heresy ... isn't it interesting that most of the engineer CEOs of the last century where far more adept in building and managing companies in a sustainable and responsible manner than the MBA CEOs of late?

Hewlett and Packard, both engineers built a world-class company, MBA folk destroyed it. Same for Olson, who built DEC into a world-class company, MBA folk destroyed it. There are many such examples. When engineers aren't adept at management, they fail fast and the damage is minimal. When MBA folk aren't adept at management, they fail slowly but drawn out, bleeding the companies to death or near death, the damage is huge.

The reason may well be that proper management has a lot in common with proper engineering. Measure twice, cut once. Aim for correctness, reliability and safety. MBA folk are the kind that sell us banana products -- the product ripens with the customer. Release early, fix it later. Unfortunately, this attitude has now permeated into engineering.

Its all about the quick buck now.

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