15 posts • joined Wednesday 18th August 2010 11:02 GMT
Re: the upper echelons often seem bafflingly immune
“at least some of the people in the lower echelons are accountable”
Often they’re just taking the fall for mistakes that are really the fault of someone higher up, though.
“I'd also note that all of the examples you site have significant interfaces with the government in one way or another.”
Up to a point. The misdeeds that led to the financial crisis really weren’t the government’s fault. The government could have done more to stop the madness, but it certainly wasn’t forcing banks to go on insane lending binges in various bubbly property markets or to make enormous gambles on highly-leveraged pools of credit derivatives.
It sometimes feels like once you’ve made it to C-level you’re almost guaranteed perpetual lucrative employment, no matter how much you screw up (short of actual imprisonment). It’s like football managers; there are so few that are known quantities (and so perceived as less of a gamble by risk-averse boards) that a month after steering Club X into relegation and bankruptcy you’ll be sitting at a press conference with your new employer talking about how you’re looking forward to working with players and staff to restore Club Y to the prominence its proud heritage deserves.
Re: I did not cost the council one penny
“Unless we start sacking the idiots in the civil service, we will keep getting crap like this. In the private sector this would almost certainly be grounds for summary dismissal.”
I hear this kind of thing a lot, and yet I’m not convinced that the private sector is all that much more efficient or less error-prone than the public sector, based on my experience working with both. Companies certainly have an easier time concealing their fuckups than public-sector entities, and you could argue that they tend to fuck up in different ways; amazing feats of bureaucratic inertia and buck-passing are more common in the public sector, while ridiculous misadventures caused by dumbfounding levels of exec-grade arrogance and narcissism happen more often in the private.
Both sectors come out with these kinds of staggering ineptitude often enough that I can no longer take this whole ‘private sector lean and efficient; public sector bloated and incompetent’ mythos very seriously. And while some people in the corporate world may be more likely to face the consequences of their mistakes – lower-paid people, mostly – the upper echelons often seem bafflingly immune to the faintest hint of accountability. Just look at the leaders of so many of our glorious financial institutions, or the seemingly ineradicable Ballmer, or any number of serial failures who nevertheless sail blithely into a succession of heavily-remunerated leadership roles, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.
I approve of the Pynchon reference. That is all.
Re: Interesting to note in passing that Elop left after a year at Redmond.
"it's impossible to be THAT stupid, so occams razor favours conspiracy"
A remarkable claim; I'm wondering what evidence you could possibly have to support it. Some kind of rigorous experimental data on exactly how stupid humans are capable of being, used to support a prooft that Elop’s performance exceeds the human capacity for idiocy? To me it seems pretty clear that human history is littered with examples of people doing far, far more stupid things than running a formerly-successful phone manufacturer into the ground with a series of misguided decisions.
Re: Interesting to note in passing that Elop left after a year at Redmond.
"occam's razor says that Elop is a Trojan."
It says nothing of the kind. If one hypothesis calls for the existence of an nefarious and elaborate conspiracy and another requires only stupidity, Occam’s razor is going to favour the latter every time. Obviously.
Your problem is that you start from the assumption that Elop must have destroyed Nokia deliberately and then go looking for reasons why he might have done this; you neglect the possibility that he might simply have been being massively inept, as parachuted-in corporate saviours so often are.
"Bottom line is revenue and profit"
Actually only profit is bottom line. Revenue is top line. The metaphor comes from accounting, and has a precise meaning despite people's tendency to use it loosely to mean 'the most important thing' or suchlike - a precise meaning that can't help being highlighted when you use the metaphor to talk about some actual accounts. The idea is that you start off with the sales figures (revenue), which form the top line of the income statement and basically mean bugger all unless you’re in some sort of ‘biggest company by sales’ competition. Then you go down the income statement removing various types of expense, thereby stating various kinds of profit – gross profit, ebit, ebidta etc - until finally you get to net profit, literally the bottom line of the income statement, which hopefully (if there hasn’t been too much accounting jiggery-pokery) is reasonably representative of how much cash is available at the end of the year for the owners to buy more pies.
Whatever your assessment of the differences in security between iphones and android phones, it’s obviously impossible to take anyone seriously who thinks it’s of this kind of magnitude – apple 99.9% effective, android 0% effective, or in other words Apple infinitely better. Fanboyism of the most comical stripe.
It's amazing how many people who give no sign of ever having set foot in a newsroom still feel qualified to lecture journalists about how to do their jobs. Mostly this seems to come down to thinly-veiled assertions that any story that doesn't fit the carping lecturer's preconceptions and general hobby-horses must be some kind of gross breach of journalistic ethics, 'balance' etc.
You seem to be suggesting that hacks shouldn't report people being critical of the dead, because the dead can't respond to defend themselves. Applied consistently, this principle would have some interesting implications for the media's ability to cover all kinds of things. Obviously it ain't going to happen, and Jobs deserves no more protection than anyone else.
1) The Typhoon does have some features aimed at reducing its radar signature, but they're trivial compared even to those of the F35. Compared to the F22 they're barely worth mentioning. The sales brochure may not be the best place to look for unbiased information on the plane's abilities.
2) The claim that the Raptor "can not attack ground targets" is stark, staring madness. What is your source for this bizarre claim?
3) The Typhoon's alleged ability to shoot down the F22 at BVR rather depends on its ability to detect it before it is itself detected, no? Given that the F22 is a true stealth aircraft and the Typhoon isn't, this may in practice prove to be a sticking point.
4) National pride isn't a good reason to pretend to believe things we know to be untrue.
I think you'll find that in mainstream (ie not-batshit-insane) economic circles, Keynes is still considered a major figure - certainly rather more authoritative than Henry Hazlitt...
"Rik, when you have a product that comes from nowhere and ships 15 million units in nine months then maybe you'd have a point. Until then keep your smarm to yourself."
This kind of gibberish is the last line of defence of clueless fanboys/girls of all kinds everywhere. Don't like Justin Bieber? Have you had any international mega-hits? Do you have a vast following among teenaged girls? If not, WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT, EH? Bit disappointing it's coming out this early in the game…
Why is calc different from IE?
"Notice that the inclusion of say, Calculator, Notepad, Minesweeper, Defrag, etc. was never an issue. Nobody cared about what Microsoft included in their own operating system, really."
This is an interesting analogy and one that gets to the heart of my confusion about this whole antitrust thing. What's the difference between calc and IE, really? Why's one part of the OS and the other not? Is it just that there were other companies trying to make competing browsers whereas nobody happened to be trying to compete in the calculator widget market?
If at the time I'd set up a company dedicated to creating a better desktop calculator and selling it for cash, would this have changed the situation so that the powers that be would try to make MS stop bundling calc with Windows? That is, was the only difference that there happened to be a 'market' in browsers but not in calculator or defragmentation programmes? There doesn't seem any fundamental difference between the two kinds of programmes. Can the legality or otherwise of MS's actions really hinge on the kinds of software its competitors decide to make?
Longevity of F18?
So how well would even recent ('super') versions of the F18 be expected to hold up in a carrier-defence/ground-attack role over the next 20-30 years? It's a 30-year-old airframe already; seems to me it'd be hard-pushed to get near even recent Russian fighters, let alone the kind of thing that may appear over the life of these carriers? Said recent Russian fighters could be appearing all over the place before too long. The F35 at least has stealth…
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