Re: Small company communication

Subject: Re: Small company communication
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 07:01:34 -0800

Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

>I've learned a lot of painful and depressing lessons building my
company. One I
>learned just recently is that some people, no matter how open
the communication
>lines may be, are convinced they are working harder and smarter
than everybody
>else. There are people who are just spoiled brats and think
their knowledge
>(skills, contribution, etc.) is superior to everybody else's.

>So before you write off an organization because they have
process problems,
>take a look at the personalities around you. Sometimes, the
problems are not
>the processes but the thick-headed jerks who need to be fired
and replaced with
>humble, productive, creative, supportive individuals.


Your comment can't be stressed enough. High-tech is a place where
egos roam free.

To start with, programmers and writers are people doing creative
jobs. There's a lot of pride in the work. Sometimes, it's
justified. Other times, it's posturing. Often, this posturing is
justified on the grounds that you have give creative people a
long rope, but toleration of it often makes the posturing worse.

Then, you have the geek mystique: the idea that twentysomethings
in high-tech are an elite who are just waiting to step into
power. Of course, this mystique is also used to tempt
self-proclaimed geeks to work long extra hours. Nor do the geeks
notice that their elite is usually managed by their non-geek
elders. But geeks do love their posturing.

(In the company where I am, the egos get an extra boost from the
fact that the geeks are working on Linux, and are therefore
ubergeeks automatically, but most companies won't have to worry
about that. Yet.)

Finally, if you're working in a startup, people can easily get an
inflated opinion of their own worth by the fact that everyone is
doing two or three different things. Again, they may or may not
be justified. But, then, as more people come in, and employees
become more specialized, people can be hurt as their
responsibilities are taken away from them.

I think that the most useful advice is to find people who take
the work seriously, but not themselves. The first is essential;
the second deadly. I'm paraphrasing a quote I can't attribute,
but the point is worth repeating anyway.

All of which makes me wonder why people endure the egos bouncing
around the cubicles like a pinball and don't leave. I suppose the
only answer is a modification of that old punch-line, "What? And
give up show business?"

Which, in turn, shows that ego can also be useful. :-)

Bruce Byfield, Product Manager, Stormix Technologies
Vancouver, BC, Canada

"J'y suis, j'y reste" - Louis XIV of France

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