I’d like for other folks to be a bit more bothered, have a little more interest in more than just their own little corner of the work. But that’s not going to work.

I’d like for other folks to have a little more courage, and to try more often to overcome the obstructions that their higher-ups put in their way. But that’s not going to work.

I’d like for other folks to recognise the trough of learned helplessness that repeated try-and-give-up has landed them in, and climb up out of it. But that’s not going to work.

I’d like for other folks to push at the boundaries and see if they might have more influence over the culture, systems, etc. in their workplace than they may have come to believe. But that’s not going to work.

More generally, I’d like to be able to fix other people. But that’s not going to work.

I titled this post “Quandary”. But it’s not a quandary, really. Instead of wishing, and waiting, and expecting for others to change, I’m going to make a wish for me to change. And to be the change I want to see. And attend to their needs. Maybe it’ll make some kind of difference. But it’s all that’s ever likely to work.

– Bob

  1. Paul Beckford said:

    Hi Bob,

    Nice sentiment. We can’t change anyone else other then ourselves, and even then there are no guarantees.

    Without wanting to sound defeatist, I have long had the suspicion that the prevailing nature of the software development industry as we know it is mostly a consequence of the anthropic principle applied to a social system:


    Most people can’t “see” software. Code is illegible to the people who buy and rely on software services, so the normal feedback loops of competition and the reward of excellence that we generally rely upon, when trying to improve how human based systems perform don’t tend to work as we would expect.

    Instead we end up with what we mostly see today. The analogy of the anthropic principle holds I think. With software being what it is, and people and the way they organise being what it is, can we really expect to see anything other then what we see today?


    • Hi Paul,

      So things are how they are – because for them to be any other way, we’d have to be different from the “humans” we are?

      Sounds about right. But history suggests we humans can change. Albeit so very slowly?

      – Bob

      P.S. I’ve been remarking on software as having the same dynamic as a Market For Lemons for many years now. :}

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