Five Stages of Autonomy

Social Network Diagram

I came across an article by Matt Mullenweg about what he calls the Five Levels of Autonomy.  It is an interesting article which is worth reading at length, but in brief the five levels are:

  • Level Zero autonomy is a job which cannot be done unless you’re physically there
  • Level One autonomy where the work isn’t remote-friendly
  • Level Two where work is enabled remotely, for a while, but not intended as a long term solution.
  • Level Three sees increased benefit from a remote work scenario and accrued social benefits kick in for a worker (e.g. doing homework with the kids because you aren’t in the office)
  • Level Four is where work output is judged on what is produced, not hours in the office and real-time meetings are treated with increased respect
  • Level Five is Nirvana: when work is performed at a higher level than it ever could be in an office

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A Change Management Primer

Jack Welch was a believer in the importance of a company’s ability to change. To the extent he asserted that when the rate of change inside a company is slower than the rate of change outside it, the end is in sight. Conditions before, during and after change are best illustrated in Lewin’s Force Field Analysis Model. On one side is the driving forces and on the other are restraining forces. Only if the driving force can be increased to overpower, or the restraining force reduced allow, is change able to be brought about. Perhaps the most crucial element in understanding this process is to apprehend why people are resistant to change.

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The Case of the Dangling Toad

I learn today a manuscript of Isaac Newton’s is being offered by Bonhams.. The two page manuscript is based on Tumulus Pestis [The Tomb of the Plague] by Jan Baptist van Helmont, a Flemish physician who treated victims during the Antwerp plague of 1605. Van Helmont’s writing on chemistry was not only influential on Newton and Robert Boyle, but he invented the word ‘gas’ and demonstrated that other gases exist which are distinct from atmospheric air.

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Parliamentary Privilege

The Palace of Westminster in London

Scrolling down the home page of one of my newspapers of choice the other day, I could only find one article not about Coronavirus. While one of the greatest challenges facing our world at the present, it is a public disservice to permit a single topic to dominate all media channels unless there is a topical angle. In this climate, it came as something of a welcome change to see the news channels lighting up on a different topic; social media vs The President.

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Dead Certainties

In a New York Times book review in 2016, Michiko Kakutani delivered an assessment of Volker Ullrich biography of Hitler which was perceived as drawing a comparison between Trump and der Führer. One does not need to know much about the rise of Hitler and the NSDAP to see that even though Kakutani never mentioned Trump by name, the comparison was so thinly veiled as to be positively naked. While the approach is but one of a long line of ‘historical’ comparisons which pervades political discourse, what is of particular interest is that while many historical comparisons are used to normalise a present event or set of choices, comparisons involving Trump leverage history to abnormalise him.

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Code is Speech?

In the early 1990’s, Daniel Bernstein, a Berkeley mathematics PhD student, wanted to publish the source code for an encryption algorithm he had written along with an accompanying mathematics paper. In the age of Github, such an event would go largely noticed. Particularly if the author is a student, who usually struggle to get their professors to read their work, let alone anyone else. But in the 1990’s, this was groundbreaking. This is because until what became known as Bernstein v. Department of Justice,’ the US government designated encryption as a ‘munition,’ classifying it along with a range of deadly weapons and thus subject to export restrictions.

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So this is how privacy dies…

Excerpt from the Bill of Rights

Maciej Cegłowski coined a phrase which I think should resonate far beyond the circles in which it currently does. The phrase: ‘ambient privacy.’ He defined it as:

the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record. Not every conversation needs to be a deposition.

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