Friday, December 07, 2001

Just a thought about the 'Revenge of the Geeks', or however you wish to refer to it. I'm talking about the popular idea that the computer revolution and all computer companies came to being just because some geeks were playing around. Is not that myth nurtured for too long? I for one is quite tired of stories about geeks who 'never played football and never went out on any dates but preferred to change the world and ended up loaded with money - and just by having fun, too!!!'

I am also fed up with listening to how 'five guys [they always seem to be guys] from Säffle, equipped merely with a PC, an idea and a garage, formed the biggest company in Sweden. And all they did was to have fun!!! No stupid boss, no hard labour, just sheer joy and happiness and before they knew it, they were loaded with money'.

I do not question that it was a lot of fun to develop the computer and the world wide web. Neither do I doubt that these people were rather lousy footballers, and as for the likelyhood of dates - I'll just leave that for somebody else to judge. I do realise also that if a lot of the ideas that formed the internet stem from a hippie culture,a built in suspicion towards authoroties is logical.

What I do not believe, though, is that you can form long term successful companies without taking fundamental organisational thery into account. I am quite convinced that a company will not last for long if there is not a common vision within the organisation. That vision has to be a moral one - i e a vision about providing goods or services to people, as opposed to a vision about making a fortune - and it has to have a long term validity. The most important task for a leader - the boss - is to implant that vision in all parts of the organisation, and make sure that everybody involved are working in the same direction.

I am convinced that all the successful companies in the computer industry consist of skilled, committed, serious people who have worked - as opposed to played around - hard to make real their visions, and I wish they could say so.

There, I said it. And I feel great!

For anyone interested in the theory of organisations, I warmly recommend the hugeky interesting book 'Complex organizations' by Charles Perrow.


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