Short on expertise, long on opinions disguised as knowledge.
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Systems and People Behaving Badly

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Note: In this post I’m pretty lazy about my use of the words “system” and “systemic”. Stick with me…

Take a situation like having too much work in progress/process.

That situation can trigger problems.

What starts as a fairly common intuition trap, can end up causing confidence in people and process to drop. When confidence drops, you start to see other problems.

These problems — defensiveness, opacity, and micro-management — can feel intensely personal. Taken to the extreme, these are the types of work experiences that cause people to leave companies AND cause people to be let go (or smoked out) of companies. So you have…

…a relatively benign and common trap (high work in progress, which frankly is pretty straightforward to address) leading to entrenched people issues.

It is in vogue (in some circles) to claim that “most problems are systemic!” And then mention Deming

Deming would evoke disbelief in his management seminars when he insisted that 94 percent or more of all problems, defective goods or services came from the system, not from a careless worker or a defective machine. He would go on to say that to improve an organization’s goods or services, the system had to be improved rather than searching for the guilty worker or broken equipment. Top managers in America’s leading companies were dubious students. But, in almost all cases, when they implemented his ideas, they were surprised to find that they agreed with him: The management and the system they were managing were the true source of both problems and improvements.

Which is all well and good, but sort of ignores an important point…systemic issues can cause people to act in shitty and self-destructive ways.

I’d argue that left unchecked the people issues become THE PROBLEM. Does it matter that the root cause was high WIP? Maybe if you catch things early enough — hurray for visualizing work and having limits in th first place — but not once the gnarly people issues have become entrenched. It doesn’t matter. Lowering WIP limits will not, in isolation, solve the (new) underlying problems. Would this repair a relationship?

You know all those times I was being a jerk and not trusting you … that was because the high WIP dude. I come in peace. It was the WIP that did it.

Probably not.

Does viewing this diagram make it all better?

To some people, yes. They’ll say something like…

Oh wow, I can see how all these small issues can add up to something super crappy.

But not to others…

So you’re basically saying we’re all fucked.

And WE are in the right, of course. What tends to happen is that we absolve our own bad behavior — oh, that was the system — while continuing to blame others for specifics (well, she SHOULD have known better).

Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior (see also actor-observer bias, group attribution error, positivity effect, and negativity effect).

What you are left with is classic conflict escalation and de-escalation. If we’re stuck trying to punish what we view as shitty behavior in others, then we are liable to take a scorched earth approach (often destroying whatever reputation/trust we have in the process).

Numerous experiments have shown that individuals are willing to destroy their own resources in order to sanction another person’s unkind or unfair behavior.

Our normal instincts to “freeze, fight, or flee” simply escalate the conflict. Peace requires someone to take a leap of faith…

To attain peace, players use costly signals to communicate their willingness to stop fighting. The most important signal is refraining from any investment in conflict, which implies an almost certain loss of the contest.

All this is to say that your NEW systemic issue is a wicked problem involving people behaving badly. Trust and safety must be gradually restored. Fixing the original root cause will not solve the new problem. You must de-escalate, and often in the workplace that involves small acts of collaboration and undeniable value (the “costly signals to communicate [our] willingness to stop fighting”) in the face of lingering — and very real — interpersonal issues.

I’m beginning to think that in change efforts we often don’t explicitly ask for a ceasefire / truce, or call out that the “cost of conflict is higher than the cost of reconciliation”. Doing so AND highlighting the system-level contributors, would go a long way towards a reset and the required de-escalation.

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pberry
21 days ago
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Chico, CA
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News Post: The Dumbest Timeline

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Tycho:

This motherfucker can’t stay out of the news.  And because eSports and social media have transformed every human medium of communication into a tabloid, I can’t look anywhere without seeing it.  So now, even if you have scrupulously limited your Internet access to this specific site, you still have to put up with it.

The whole thing has put me in a very philosophical mood.

There is pretty clearly a disconnect between the audience for online content and the platforms that host that content.  The audience is fairly clear on this point: they’re rewarding the most extreme content they can find with viewership and direct dollars.  It’s true on YouTube and it’s true on Twitch.  People always think that when you make a statement of observable fact you’re supporting whatever it is, which is nonsense - we can’t grapple with things unless we name them clearly.  So, let me name it:  Trolls are the new Punk.  You can recognize this or you can be wrong and I honestly don’t care which one you choose.  Next you can disagree with me about the atomic weight of hydrogen.  See where it gets you.  Look, I’m not happy about it.  Let’s hate this together.

I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Punk, and I was like…  Writing a Wikipedia entry on Punk is probably the least Punk thing there is.  Sure, maybe that’s what it meant in a specific time - ironically, or maybe just factually, it’s a very conservative, victors-writing-history sort of affair.  Punk is not a type of hair.  Punk is that which gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil.  So if the new countercultural force looks like Logan Paul, this eighties movie bully looking motherfucker, and if norms have shifted to the extent that utterly mainstream individuals look like punks did, well, now you know what it means to live too long.

There was the idea that the Internet was going to do away with Gatekeepers, and it did for a time, except - and if you’ve ever worked IT you know this already - technology moves in cycles of Centralization and Decentralization.  So, yes.  You could get a TLD and functionally speaking operate a pirate ship for awhile, but monetizing that Internet required a fair bit of sophistication.  The next disruptive wave was tied not to the the raw topology of the network but on services built atop it, with monetization as an inherent feature.  Now, years after the fact, they’re trying to close the barn door.

Logan Paul is making a fool of them over and over again, and perforating the platform for other creators.  Now they’ve put him on timeout like the fucking child he is.  They can stop paying him, but it doesn’t stop him getting paid.  They made a kind of monster machine, with every possible lever thrown towards a caustic narcissism, and then they pretend to be fucking surprised when an unbroken stream of monsters emerge.

(CW)TB out.

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pberry
124 days ago
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He's real good with words.
Chico, CA
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fxer
124 days ago
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Pot Meet Kettle

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Dickwolves
Bend, Oregon

Fruit Collider

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The most delicious exotic fruit discovered this way is the strawberry banana. Sadly, it's only stable in puree form, so it's currently limited to yogurt and smoothies, but they're building a massive collider in Europe to search for a strawberry banana that can be eaten whole.
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pberry
137 days ago
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Wait, isn't this the plot to Fruit Ninja?
Chico, CA
popular
135 days ago
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alt_text_bot
136 days ago
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The most delicious exotic fruit discovered this way is the strawberry banana. Sadly, it's only stable in puree form, so it's currently limited to yogurt and smoothies, but they're building a massive collider in Europe to search for a strawberry banana that can be eaten whole.
satadru
136 days ago
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This is the worst Feynman diagram, but I suppose he would have gotten a kick out of it.
New York, NY
matthiasgoergens
136 days ago
That's not a Feynman diagram. It looks at most like the traces you would find in bubble chamber.
satadru
136 days ago
Fair enough. But Feynman did like fruit analogies.
jepler
137 days ago
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and the conjectured "aisle of stability" where unusual but highly shelf-stable fruits should appear starting around aisle 300 in ultra-mega grocery stores.... the difficulty is in building such a large grocery store, I guess.
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
HarlandCorbin
137 days ago
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Now I want a strawberry-banana. The closest I know of is the red banana which has a lightly berry flavor (at least to me!).

Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV

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Apple Newsroom:

Starting today, customers around the world can access the Amazon Prime Video app on Apple TV to stream award-winning and critically acclaimed titles including Prime Original Series and Movies. Also starting this week, the Apple TV app — a unified place for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users to discover and start watching the best shows and movies — supports live sports, giving fans in the US a simple and seamless way to keep track of their favorite teams and games in real time. Participating sports apps in the Apple TV app include ESPN and the NBA, developed in partnership between the NBA and Turner Sports, with more to be added soon. Starting tomorrow, Prime members in the US can enjoy Thursday Night Football on the Apple TV app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

I’ve heard there is indeed a good story behind this delay.

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pberry
193 days ago
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It launched because I ordered a Fire Stick so I could watch The Tick 🤣
Chico, CA
MotherHydra
193 days ago
I love my Fire Stick, you won't be disappointed. Also of note, Plex works great with it!
fxer
191 days ago
and youtube will work great until 2018-01-01 :)
MotherHydra
190 days ago
Apparently someone heard you fxer, everything I've read about the app makes it out to be a shitshow.
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Video of Facebook Spaces in Action

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I’m calling this an “emperor has no clothes” moment. This is a horror show. Disembodied torsos? Virtual selfie sticks? This looks like the way people would socialize in a post-apocalyptic scenario where everyone is quarantined in a bunker to shelter themselves from the zombie virus. It’s clunky and painfully awkward.

Who the hell wants to strap on a headset to have a video call with the disembodied Wii-like avatars of their friends when they can just hold up their phones and have a regular video call where they can see their actual friends? This is stupid.

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pberry
424 days ago
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But how does John really feel about it? He's clearly holding back.
Chico, CA
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Android Police: ‘Google Is Building Two Android Wear Smartwatches With Google Assistant Integration’

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Easy to forget that Android watches are even a thing.

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pberry
710 days ago
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Except for all the revenue. Other than that, totally.
Chico, CA
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sulrich
711 days ago
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interestingly, the same holds true for the apple watch.
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