Russell L. Carter on Mon, 3 Jun 2002 06:23:16 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> On Empire

: The distinct groups in engineering firms are all distinctly sub-types of
: engineers. Management are typically technological optimists with
: engineering training and values. They are driven to find
: technological/engineering expressions as a means of attaining self-worth.
: This is not to say that there are not distinct sub-types. However to say
: that these sub-types are not all valid forms of engineering expression is
: to reduce analysis to the level of a Dilbert cartoon. I have had 29 years
: experience in high-tech. I too have heard the comments about management not
: understanding the product and not understanding how real engineering is
: done. I have heard comments about how current programming skills are a
: necessity for everyone including senior management. This is of course
: nonsense and is the mark of low level engineers who do not have a grasp of
: the larger design issues beyond their isolated component.  For some reason,
: they cannot understand that major issues of customer value, allocation of
: scare resources, design evolution and development & acquisition of core
: technological competencies, market fit, etc.  cannot be developed as an
: application of the latest JAVA tool. They cannot seem to understand that
: the issues that can be handled by these latest low level tools were
: identified, investigated and solved by the previous senior level activity
: which they scorn. They are simply applying solutions that were previously
: found by senior management and technologists previously.

We've diffused a bit.   My original comments were directed to the
assertion that all useful products are produced by large scale hierarchical 
organizations.  That assertion is implicit in the text above, and
appears to further imply that all (productive) hackers are contained 
within such organizations.

Coase elaborated the value of the Firm back in the 30s.  So what if 
(junior) engineers embedded within your Firm(s) don't appreciate Coase.  
That's  irrelevant to the observation that "products" are generated through a
spectrum of processes, and fundamental "products" have been produced
over the last 25 years by hacker processes with structures that 
don't resemble your Firm(s).

It's also irrelevant that these processes leverage tools generated
by "previous senior level activity".  Ahem.

The disconnect here seems to be a conflation of the observation of the 
existence of such processes with the unfounded inference that such processes
are evolutionarily destined to exterminate all classical Coasian structures.

It would be more useful to investigate the ecology of these 
emerging hacker processes.   Often, not always, it amounts to 
a banal innovation-> "success" -> "acquisition" ->death 
lifecycle imposed by the likes of Microsoft whenever it can.


: Thanks
: Tom Gray


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