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This move has been several years in the making. My interests have been shifting during that time, away from software development and towards business. As several people have suggested, it makes sense to separate the two topics into different blogs.
I will continue to post software-oriented articles here, although I suspect postings will be less frequent (But who knows? Being liberated from software may loosen my tongue).
I can't quite explain what caused this transition. I think I may have had a much slower version of Gerald Weinberg's discovery that bad management trivially overwhelms good technology (Weinberg wrote one or two programming books at the beginning of his career, then switched over to management). A bigger impact came from visiting businesses as part of my consulting work, and seeing how most of them created (usually with good intentions) negative environments that made people unhappy and produced counterproductive results for the business.
It's easy to dwell on what's wrong, and I think that very thing kept me away from regular jobs -- our businesses are so overwhelmingly bad that it seemed hopeless. Employees are driven to despair and madness by this crazy system we've created. And yet we somehow accept it as "business as usual."
As I said, easy to dwell on the negative. But some years ago, I started having this thought, a thought which seemed crazy and impossible and yet persisted as a little mental experiment: "what would the world be like if everyone loved their job?" There are all kinds of reasons and arguments that people can come up with for why this is impossible, but in my experience with open-spaces conferences I've learned that it's easy to come up with that reasoning, which seems airtight but turns out to be completely wrong (for other examples, see TED talks and Radiolab).
So the thought that keeps pushing aside all the nay-says is visualizing a world full of people who love their work. Yes, I don't know exactly how that structure would look (yet) and I don't know how to get there (yet), but I'm fairly certain that it would (for example) maximize profit -- I say that not to suggest that maximizing profit is what business should be about; on the contrary I think that is what has put us in our current predicament. I say it because I think it might motivate some people to consider the alternatives.
The business books I've been reading and reporting about here are in pursuit of that goal, and I'm amazed at how many of the recent books seem to be aligned with my own thinking. I started out wondering if I was alone in this endeavor, but now it feels like the first train is just leaving the station, and I'm having to crowd to get on. It's a good feeling, because the others are also in pursuit of quality of life. It's an example of enlightened self-interest.
You can read the introduction and subscribe to the new blog here. Note that the discussion forum is a Google Group, because I want to encourage positive conversations, and the newsgroup provides a barrier and allows better control.
|Bruce Eckel (www.BruceEckel.com) provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.|