Showing posts from June, 2021

On the origin of company silos

As an idealist who rather naïvely believed in shared purpose, I have been confounded by the pervasiveness and silly pettiness of the silos all through my working life. Initially, I approached it with the high-mindedness of youth: We must be able to find common ground! Gradually, that gave away to the cynicism of mid-life: People never change and bureaucracies are inherently corrupting! Eventually, I needed a full therapy - start-up life - to cure me of cynicism and gain some perspective on why silos happen. I now think that the silos are usually a response to a certain leadership style. Most leaders seem to assume that work-life needs to be built around competition. Office, in this version, is some kind of Darwinian playground where the fittest should survive. Obviously, that misses the point: The most crucial insight of Darwin is the understanding, one that he drew from the breakthroughs in geology, that evolution is a slow process that plays out over millions of years. Compressing th

No way back

There are moments when choices have to be made. This is perhaps one of those, for me. Ever since 2020, I kept my life in a holding pattern. Not thinking about the future, living a day at a time! It worked well - it was the right mode for the pandemic. But now I am getting tired of not dreaming. I must concede that the year has been extremely productive for me in a variety of ways. It's not just about overcoming my earlier entrepreneurial failure - which I have been brooding over for seven years and still dealing with its consequences - but also about learning a few things about entrepreneurship itself. As a result, I live a very different life now: I have gone back to being a company man I once was. Along the way, I became conscious of my baggage. I now have a clear idea what success looks like - how singularly focused, totally unconcerned about nuances one needs to be - and how my fundamental assumptions about business life were always too idealistic. I grew up in an entrepreneuri

How to create a Digital Commonwealth?

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighbourhood and yet we have not had the commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some ways, we have got to do this..We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. - Dr Martin Luther King, March 31, 1968 1 It is time to make Digital work for people. It's time to think about a Digital Commonwealth. Commonwealth used to be a community for common good. It was so in Renaissance and then for the founders of the American colonies, facing off the wilderness with the strength of working together.  Today the term lost some of that meaning, and got associated with the imperial legacy. It's time to reclaim it back. 2 Digital commonwealth is about enabling human communities to co-create digital possibilities. Today's narrative, that the sociopathic technologists and sociopathic investors would control the tools and the rest of the hu

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