I’m a big fan of Nassim Taleb but clearly he’s no fan of the likes of me.
My one saving grace? I do deadlift, 127.5kg for 6 reps, Mr Taleb.
He’s never heard of me, but he knows my type. I’m a semi erudite bureaucrat, or hemi-demi-semi erudite more like. Seen a few Ted talks, but reads the transcripts rather than sit through the actual face talking. Dislikes PowerPoint, joined the short lived Prezi craze when every meeting made people seasick, doesn’t have Black Swan but does have Antifragile and Fooled By Randomness.
I read Nassim’s thing diatribe above with growing sadness that this time it was ME he was talking about, not economists or people who basically havent read his books and agree with him. I’ve read your books Nassim! I agree with you!
Sadly though the crucial thing is I don’t have skin in the game.
Look at where I lie on Nassim’s table…
Seeing me as an actual stereotype is really interesting. A policy fashion victim, as much prey to fads, trends and new gee-gaws as anybody.
A policy fashion victim would start seeing things being mentioned online, therefore they appear new and interesting, so they find out more, and turns out they ARE new and interesting. Little do you know that as you’re doing this, so are hundreds of other policy fashion victims, also thinking they’re finding something new and interesting, when really it’s just this year’s policy fashion. As more people see it as new and interesting, it gets pushed more and more, so it appears more and more substantial, cos everybody’s talking about it. Eventually, it becomes so obviously a new truth that it is soon forgotten if it were ever actually known in the first place that it is only a truth because everybody is talking about it.
At the moment what’s IN is demand management, big data, open data, data visualisation. Data. But not data in boring five bar gates. Policy data, data that you get from smart people and smart applications. This is like anything else in Nassim’s list above, fashionable.
So what’s the actual point of this blog post then? If we wanted to go all the way back to that grinning mucky faced boy i used to stick on the end of blog posts, what actually IS…
The Systems Thinking Lesson
Turns out it might not really matter if you’ve read the right books and agree. It might be that despite your best intentions and even better thinking, that being a semi-erudite bureaucrat is a “bad thing” in itself regardless of who occupies your post, and you should go off and do something more useful instead. You can’t get skin in the game as a bureaucrat cos you’re too far away from the game to put skin in at all. All that paper gets in the way, the system defining what a bureaucrat is and does just as much as it defines what everybody else is and does.
Anyway…Keep systems thinking and have a lovely day!