Thursday, June 01, 2006

How to manage fools

I like managers.

Well, ..., some of them.

Well, ..., a few of them.

Actually: very few of them.

Ok, ok, just a pair of them.

But I'd really like to be as foolish as the ones I do like.

I remember one manager, who was a mate of mine when I coded in Silicon Valley, and he was some fool!

You'd be in this meeting (or other), and you could see he just didn't understand what was going on. And the conversation would be just about to move on from the topic, when he'd ask a "really dumb" question about it. Of course you only thought it was "really dumb" if you were a new young hotshot. After a while you realise he asked simple questions, which led to ... the flaw in whatever it was we were waffling on about.

And then there's this other guy where I code now who is just as foolish. He'll send emails, CC'd to half the company, which admonish you to "explain it to me like you'd explain it to a two-year-old".

I don't admire these managers because they are foolish, rather I just noticed foolishness being prevalent in managers I admire.

And just as insanity is often held as a counterpoint to genius, so it seems that foolishness is the other side of intelligence. A fool is not stupid, a fool knows there are things he does not know, and will play on that where she can.

It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.


PS: I never did understand all the brouhaha about how supposedly confusing Donald Rumsfeld's poetry is. But I do know Rumsfeld's no fool!

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