Draw a line in the sand

I’m reading the book “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s the right book for me to read right now. I’ve been thinking that as David is to Goliath, so is Archi to other tools. And here’s a quote from the book that resonates with that thought:

As you get going, keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you’re willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world.

A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider, and more passionately than any advertising could.

Strong opinions aren’t free. You’ll turn some people off. They’ll accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. That’s life. For everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)

Lots of people hate us because our products do less than the competition’s. They’re insulted when we refuse to include their pet feature. But we’re just as proud of what our products don’t do as we are of what they do.

We design them to be simple because we believe most software is too complex: too many features, too many buttons, too much confusion. So we build software that’s the opposite of that. If what we make isn’t right for everyone, that’s OK. We’re willing to lose some customers if it means that others love our products intensely. That’s our line in the sand.

Sand Line

But, of course, lines can always be re-drawn. Boundaries are constantly shifting depending on demand and opportunities. Perhaps, too, the wind will blow away the line in the sand and a new one drawn?

Zombie Organisations

Max Keiser rails against “zombie” banks, and rightly so as the economy suffers from the life-draining consequences of these wretched institutions. A zombie bank is a bank that that has an economic net worth of zero, or less than zero, but continues to operate as a result of government backings or bailouts.

But what about zombie organisations?

A zombie organisation is an organisation that also has a net worth of zero, or less than zero, since it has had all of its life-blood drained out of it and yet somehow, inexplicably, continues to walk the earth. Or, more accurately, the life-blood has left it – the good people of the organisation, the creative and honest people, have long since left to go onto better things, no longer able to endure the lack of management, and the incompetence and solipsism of the zombie organisation’s funeral directors. However, unlike the zombie banks, the zombie organisation is not being bailed out and instead has lost its source of funding, its fiscal blood supply, and yet stumbles on relentlessly, zombie-like, pursuing its mindless course.

I don’t know which is the saddest, the zombie bank or the zombie organisation. At least you can understand how the zombie bank continues in its unfortunate existence, pumped with the blood of tax-payers’ money. But how do you explain the continued existence of the zombie organisation, deprived of the blood of funding, unwanted even by its own host organisation, circling itself in its own uselessness and redundancy? Just how do you put the zombie organisation out of its misery?