[FoRK] a spare Google Wave invite?

silky michaelslists at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 17:08:14 PDT 2009

On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 9:32 AM, Aaron Burt <aaron at bavariati.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 05, 2009 at 08:16:04PM +1100, silky wrote:
> <...>
> > I also do half-wonder how easy it is so foster innovation and yet
> > control it. I'm not certain on the legitimacy of company-sponsored
> > innovation programs, unless the personal rewards are huge.
> It legitimizes work on personal and "skunkworks" projects, while putting a
> strict bound on them.  Managers don't have to keep as close tabs on how
> engineers are spending their time, or even fully understand the details.
> This frees them up for more meetings and discourages micro-management.

On the surface sure; but I think it also it diverts attention from
other work these people could be doing. I think that the fact you need
to get approval (or so I've heard) would be dissuading enough, for
some projects, but then you need to wonder that if these people even
do get projects approved, the environment is probably such that the
projects are more google-based than their typical side projects would
normally be (due to a mindset of thinking about projects which will be

I also think it's interesting to question what sort of people can
actually be on board with truly innovative projects. I think most of
us will have had experience telling people about a project or an idea,
only to find it hard to explain or generally considered ridiculous.
Twitter being a good example of this; as annoying as it is, it's
generally misunderstood and people joke about it's uselessness. I
think I even though the same of thread conversations in gmail, labels,
and many other new things.

There is something to be said for being forced to justify to your
work, but I think, equally, there is something to be said for having
the freedom to work on something without the potentially demotivating
requirement to justify it. But of course, this is what time after work
is for :) But it's interesting to consider whether the half-hearted
fostering of innovation at work destroys your motivation (or takes up
your time) to do this.

> > It's hard to think of a model that would work, though, and still allow
> > a company to get about it's business, and not loose employees. You may
> > argue that you could potentially swap; instead of 80% on corp, it's
> > 20%, and 80% on your own business (if it's making enough money), until
> > they replace you.
> Enron tried something like that.  Hire the "best and brightest" MBAs from
> Harvard and Yale and let them do whatever they fancy.
> Worked out well, at first.

What I'm getting at is a model that allows a worker to, effectively,
work themselves out of a job *while at work*. In this case the company
isn't providing an avenue to get money (or perhaps a very minor one,
say 10%), instead they are truly encouraging innovation by discarding
money of their own (in your skills and having to re-hire) by letting
you innovate in ways they may not care about, or that are even

noon silky

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