From: "John Jardine"
Subject: Re: Cutting corners?
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 01:50:21 -0000
NNTP-Posting-Date: 24 Dec 2002 01:38:20 GMT
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John Larkin wrote in message
> On Mon, 23 Dec 2002 19:28:35 -0000, "John Jardine"
> >I always remember a comment from either H or P of HP (both engineers?)
> >his style of management was "management by walking about". He also
> >understood that if one of his engineers fancied building themself a hifi
> >using the companies hi-tec products, then by hook or by crook they would.
> >Completely bypassing any clever accounting or management system that may
> >have been in place. I believe he wrote an autobiog' and would love to
> >more words of his wisdom.
> David Packard wrote "The HP Way", which is a bit sugar-coated but well
> worth reading. "Winning With People: The First 40 Years of Tektronix"
> is good too. These must have been wonderful places to work in the
> early days.
> I think that Britian has always been more class-oriented than the US;
> if Karl Marx had spent less time in London and more in Chicago, he
> might have written a different book. I am rereading Patrick O'Brian's
> wonderful Aubrey/Maturin books about the Royal Navy in the time of
> Napoleon, when it was a trend for only 'gentlemen' to be promoted as
> naval officers, regardless of their leadership or seamanship skills.
> Same problem.
> A big proportion of the managers, founders, and owners in Silicon
> Valley are Asian/Indian, not always protestant white boys. A few are
> women, and other minorities, too.
> We of course have fathead managers here, but there are lots of
> companies, big and small, that have good, technically competant
> managers. At HP, at least in the glory days, nobody could manage or
> market a product unless they had worked their way up in the technical
> ranks and absolutely understood the technology. Carly, of course,
> broke that pattern, and I suspect it will hurt in the long run.
> Really good engineers and programmers tend to not like (ie, walk out
> on) jerkoid managers - because they can - so there is a positive
> feedback, where the better organizations keep getting better.
> I like smaller companies, where all the owners and managers are
> technologists, and not just bottom-line quarterly moneymongers.
Thanks for the book refs. I'm pleased you've read 'em I look forward to
doing the same.
The point you mention about the RN officers is a really good example of the
difference in national management styles. The practice of the sons of
wealthy men purchasing commisions in the armed forces, didn't actually stop
until early in the 1900's. It was a kind of traditional hobby interest thing
amonst the gentry, with a choice being the military for the elder son or the
C of E for the younger. This attitude still exists today unfortunately and
I cringe on many occasions when some commisioned army officer is being
interviewed on TV in some god forsaken part of the world and I know
instantly his class, his social background, his history, (and his future)
just from his accent and general manner and attitude. I know also when he
leaves the army he will take 'work' as 'something in the city' and spend his
time in various expensive boardrooms, issuing 'directives' that grossly
affect the careers of numerous capable and able people that have little
chance of reaching his level no matter how good they are.
We're stuck with our culture and possibly the motivated people here would be
better off emigrating en masse to the rest of Europe, the US or anywhere
except here!. We'll put up with dickhead and second rate managers as long as
we can get a fair crack of the whip ;-).
(Disclaimer ... My working class roots force my biased viewpoint ;-).