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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Models and Actuals

Last week I read 2nd Machine Age, which pointed out that Moore’s Law, that computing power per cost doubles approximately every 18 months and has been chugging along for 60 years, is not a law, but the sum of thousands of heroic breakthroughs, a lot of people doing good work. Every time some theoretically imposed boundary was reached, someone else would come up with a different solution, eventually improving chips, architecture, software, communication and other workarounds to maintain the progress of that “law.”

There have been numerous opinion pieces announcing the end of Moore’s Law for every impending reason, mostly from people who didn’t understand ESR’s Linus’ Law,  that “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.”

I was thinking about that as I was reading some analytrash about the end of prosperity. Seems to me that there is a whole class of mumblers who create their place and prestige by predicting, “You’re gonna drop it!”

That’s not a bad prediction, because once the ball is in the air, one of two things is going to happen, and if the ball is caught, who’s going to remember the prediction? Fans care about accomplishment.

It’s also a good bet that the predictors shouting “You’re gonna drop it!” are not the ones sprinting to make the catch, so I guess it’s their best contribution.

What bothers me is the “woe is we” troupers often seem to be backing themselves into positions of political power in a variety of organizations, with truly embarrassing results.

I read someplace that one of the precursors of the Renaissance was the Black Death, which killed a third of the European population, largely in the populated centers of power, which opened up a lot of positions that were filled by people too inexperienced to know who couldn’t succeed.

Success is not some overarching trend. It’s a group of people who find a way to create value in a specific situation. As much as those in authority would like to control success, that is not their function. Or it shouldn’t be anyway.

Dune Leadership Lessons. FTW!


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