Home > management, technical > A Friction-Based Separation Of Concerns

A Friction-Based Separation Of Concerns

Alan Kay is one of the inventors of the Smalltalk programming language and a Turing award winner. During an interview with Dr. Dobbs’s Andrew Binstock, Mr. Kay had this to say:

American business is completely fucked up because it is all about competition. Our world was built for the good from cooperation. – Alan Kay

From the moment we stepped foot into the classroom and received our first gold star, we’ve been brainwashed with the BS idea that separation from, and competition with, other individuals is good and noble. In school, collaboration on assignments and tests is akin to “cheating“.  In business, subjective reward systems pit team mates against each other for money and stature.

At least in school, everyone knows what the score is. There is no group purpose, vision, or mission; it’s all about individual achievement relative to other individuals. In business, so-called leaders constantly cry out for team work and collaboration while keeping idiotic policies/processes/procedures/structures in place that guarantee a friction-based separation of concerns between individuals and groups within the org. The reason this counterproductive “behavior” will continue unabated ad infinitum is because all the players involved in the game simply take it for granted. To “us” (yes, that includes you and me), it’s simply the way it’s always been and it’s simply the way it always should be. This thinking malady is so acute that not many people even try to search for alternatives. Those poor souls that do, are often ostracized into silence.

Coop Collab

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