Since late 2016 we have entered the age of disclosures! Fasten your mental safety belt and enjoy the ride! Heretic

Friday, August 30, 2013

Why is Microsoft really doomed?

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Why are Microsoft and similar large organisations really doomed to fail?

Bad CEO?  Don't think so!

-  It's the system!   - Because of the systemic handicap inherent in large collectives!

Because it is more advantageous for middle ranking management to compete internally undermining their colleagues' departments and project developments, rather than make their company compete on the market!

Undermining a corporate colleague is more career-rewarding, for a "monkey", and brings rewards faster than a successful project management! It is a culture of hierarchical collectivism where a stronger must fight a weaker and must suck up to the higher in ranks. It is a culture of punishing the one who tries to work for a slightest mistake while rewarding her  boss for all successes. It is a culture akin of a herd of primates where everybody is a follower, nobody is capable or willing to show any creativity, and everyone spends all energy on social interaction and power games.

Eventually, normal humans are treated as misfits and leave or are pushed out, and those who embrace that culture, or are of this culture - stay in.

See the article:

“Microsoft’s Lost Decade” by Kurt Eichenwald
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer

Quotes (from Kurt Eichenwald's article):

The story of Microsoft’s lost decade could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success. For what began as a lean competition machine led by young visionaries of unparalleled talent has mutated into something bloated and bureaucracy-laden, with an internal culture that unintentionally rewards managers who strangle innovative ideas that might threaten the established order of things.
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Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success. In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors, but—because of a series of astonishingly foolish management decisions—the competitors being crippled were often co-workers at Microsoft, instead of other companies. Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses—such as e-book and smartphone technology—were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays. That is the portrait of Microsoft depicted in interviews with dozens of current and former executives, as well as in thousands of pages of internal documents and legal records.

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More employees seeking management slots led to more managers, more managers led to more meetings, more meetings led to more memos, and more red tape led to less innovation. Everything, one executive said, advanced at a snail’s pace. “There was this institutionalized system, and it was like designing software by committee,” said Prasanna Sankaranarayanan, a former Microsoft engineer. “Things moved too slowly. There were too many meetings.” Just as with e-books, opportunities for major product developments slipped away. …
By 2002 the by-product of bureaucracy—brutal corporate politics—had reared its head at Microsoft. And, current and former executives said, each year the intensity and destructiveness of the game playing grew worse as employees struggled to beat out their co-workers for promotions, bonuses, or just survival.
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Death by "stack ranking" peer-review system.

Quotes:


Microsoft’s managers, intentionally or not, pumped up the volume on the viciousness. What emerged—when combined with the bitterness about financial disparities among employees, the slow pace of development, and the power of the Windows and Office divisions to kill innovation—was a toxic stew of internal antagonism and warfare.

“If you don’t play the politics, it’s management by character assassination,” said Turkel.

At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called “stack ranking.” Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.

“If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, two people were going to get a great review, seven were going to get mediocre reviews, and one was going to get a terrible review,” said a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

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“I was told in almost every review that the political game was always important for my career development,” said Brian Cody, a former Microsoft engineer. “It was always much more on ‘Let’s work on the political game’ than on improving my actual performance.”

Creating wealth versus selling someone's product.

Quotes:

In Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography Steve Jobs, Jobs acknowledged Ballmer’s role in Microsoft’s problems: “The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.… [Then] the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when [John] Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.”

Most interesting, however, is that Jobs put the ultimate blame on Bill Gates: “They were never as ambitious product-wise as they should have been. Bill likes to portray himself as a man of the product, but he’s really not. He’s a businessperson. Winning business was more important than making great products. Microsoft never had the humanities and liberal arts in its DNA.”

Another potentially big issue, from a very different point of view:
A dialogue between the Market Diva and myself




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why are they doing it?

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Interesting phenomenon: large number of material has appeared on various blogs and youtube recently, debunking the low carbohydrate diets. Most of them appear to be produced by very dedicated individuals with no apparent science background though with very good communication and media skills. The presentations are well written in terms of English and well presented with illustrations and video. It looks like a considerable time effort has been expended by some vegan English Major graduates.   8-:)

It puzzles me because for me personally, nothing seems more fruitless and useless than trying to convince another person how to eat! What is the point?

It is impossible (and unnecessary) to argue against that material because it is too much verbiage with very little hard data, quotes are misrepresented and the references are often either missing or misleading. A good illustration of this is the following example:

http://healthylongevity.blogspot.ca/2013/08/asian-paradox-low-carb-diets.html

Take for example this graph:


The reference link points to a paper:

Explaining the Increase in Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in Beijing Between 1984 and 1999
Julia Critchley, et al.

- which does not implicate meat or animal produce at all, rather points towards the Westernisation of the modern Chinese diet as the main culprit. Anyone visiting China recently remarks how much Western junk food are young Chinese now consuming, pop soda, wheat rolls, sweets and other carbohydrates.

Quote:
Conclusions - Much of the dramatic CHD mortality increases in Beijing can be explained by rises in total cholesterol, reflecting an increasingly "Western" diet. Without cardiological treatments, increases would have been even greater.

Contrary to what the blogger seems to believe, there is nothing here against or for Paleo Diet, nothing that would single out meat, carbohydrates or anything!

Healthylongevity blogger conjures a link between CHD and a consumption of animal produce based on a second-removed correlation between cholesterol and meat. However, high consumption of both carbohydrates and fat or meat calories can also increase blood cholesterol, as witnessed by the Western SAD stats, so it is not really proven that what has caused both cholesterol and CHD in the West is one and the same thing, and it is a completely unproved Healthylongevity's opinon that supposedly, the culprit must be animal produce, not the mountains of sugar, grains or vegetable oils introduced into the world diet!.

It's the Wheat!

The next group of graphs of mysterious origin really fascinates me, since I have never seen a better example of misinformation dressed up as scientific quotation.  The first of the graphs looks like this:


I presume mIHDc stands for mortality from Ishaemic Heart disease (group c=adults) so it seems to stipulate that more wheat = lower IHD mortality!   I was not able to find any source of those graphs, since the only link above them points to some deleted blog article by Michel Blomgren titled "Elektromagnetisk överkänslighet", where the graphs are nowhere to be found!  There is a verbal "explanation" that it was supposed to be some "regressed" scientific data with no comments on the nature of regression, what variables was it regressed against and under which assumptions and models was it calculated, other than it was based on China Study II.  IHD is only one of many (and the less prevalent in China) of mortalities due to cardio-vascular causes.   Would you like to take a look at the total cardiovascular disease mortality instead?  Much higher statistics and therefore much more reliable correlation.  Well, the China Study raw  un-massaged data does show the total cardio-vascular disease versus wheat trend, albeit a completely opposite one! That is, the more wheat one consumes the higher the rate of cardio-vascular disease (in terms of correlation), for example look at the graphs here and there which I generated last 3 years ago (I can send anyone the original spreadsheet, upon request), based on the original China Study data from the Oxford University web site. Incidentally, Oxford data graphs on Wheat vs Cardio-Vascular are very consistent with the Julia Critchley et al. paper quoted above, since Chinese appear to have been recently consuming a record amount of wheat due to Westernisation of their diet!

Heretic