Thursday, November 11, 2010

i-TFTD #295: On Problem-Solving Attitude

#295-1. Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.
-H.R. McMaster, Brigadier General, US Army, Iraq War veteran (b. 1962), talking about the overuse of PowerPoint presentations

#295-2. No great programmer is sitting there saying, 'I'm going to make a bunch of money,' or 'I'm going to sell a hundred thousand copies.' Because that kind of thought gives you no guidance about the problems.
-Bill Gates

#295-3. I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
-Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

Not only is Death by Powerpoint a malaise of the times, there seems to be a general aversion to depth and nuance. Many so-called good managers tend to quickly list short conclusions and push for action items to assign to an SPC (single point of contact). Is it only me or have you noticed the irony of rapid multiplication of SPCs?

Simon Sinek, author of Start with the Why, would probably say that making money is the What and selling copies is the How but the Why is more important. Yes, there are critics of his oversimplified arguments, his force-fitting of examples like Apple to his theory and his expansion of a simple message into a Why University but his emphasis on the importance of purpose is valid.

Almost any problem can benefit from a scientific approach, even in intangible realms like spirituality. All my favorite gurus of the beyond, The Buddha, Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharishi and Anthony Demello, endorsed questioning and thinking through for oneself. Though I have not read him much, probably because of the bias instilled long ago by the Indian press about his huge Rolls Royce collection and activities in his Pune ashram, Osho Rajneesh seems to have propagated the same.

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