CTC 2005: Monday (part 1)

Monday’s sessions were a mixed bag. The keynote address from Thomas Malone was very good, focussing on “the future of work” (closely following the tenets of his book of the same name). Malone compared the history of humanity with development in the business world thus: man in isolated hunter-gatherer groups moving to centralised kingdoms (single leader) through to more de-centralised democracies equates to small local businesses moving to large corporations and then through to outsourcing, networked organisations.

The usefulness of “group wisdom” was touched-upon with the notion of internal markets, talk of eBay sellers, and so on and so forth. This means a change in management style from “command & control” to “co-ordinate & cultivate”. Two take-aways from this session for me:

  1. The “paradox of standards”: that rigid standards in the right part of a system can enable more flexibility & decentralisation (the example given was the internet protocol (IP) which forms the basis for everything working together on the internet).
  2. The “paradox of power”: that sometimes the best way to gain power is to give it away e.g. Linus Torvalds and Linux.

A great video was shown to demonstrate the “wisdom of crowds” in which a lecture audience controlled a flight simulator using wands en masse. It worked! We do more on this wisdom on Tuesday…

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.