Daily Archives:July 25th, 2005

Cause and effect

And another good quote, this time from an interview with Will Shipley:

I started feeling like actual evidence and experience wasn’t as important to Omni as was what was written in management and software books; so I was branded the crazy guy who wanted to ignore all the sage advice of my elders. Time and again our old policies, which had led to our success, were replaced by more conservative policies recommended by ‘experts’.

My feeling was (and is): You don’t adopt the mannerisms of big, successful companies when you’re small, because those mannerisms aren’t what made the companies successful.

They’re actually symptoms of what is killing the company, because it’s become too big. It’s like if you meet an really old, really rich guy covered in liver spots and breathing with an oxygen tank, and you say, “I want to be rich, too, so I’m going to start walking with a cane and I’m going to act crotchety and I’m going to get liver disease.”

The really important thing to remember is that what worked once won’t necessarily work again, and in fact is less likely to work again because it’s been done.

For example, the lesson from the iPod should be, “keep doing good designs and exploring new markets and providing integrated solutions until you hit on something people love,” not, “come out with an MP3 player with a scroll-wheel and you’ll make a zillion dollars.” Because, as we’ve seen, companies that have done the latter have really flopped.


I love this quote from Roger Scruton, which I found on John’s blog:

… Left-wing people find it very hard to get on with right-wing people, because they believe that they are evil. Whereas I have no problem getting on with left-wing people, because I simply believe that they are mistaken.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser