[FoRK] Engineering rules of thumb and Amazon's HQ2 effort

Joseph S. Barrera III joe at barrera.org
Mon Sep 11 23:23:31 PDT 2017

"Formerly Google and Facebook"? What does formerly mean? What does "way too
much cash" mean? When did Google ever build a shiny new headquarters? The
only connection between Google and "shiny new headquarters" is that Google
bought SGI's poorly timed shiny new headquarters.

On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 10:51 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> On 9/11/17 9:37 PM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
>> See also: The curse of building a shiny new headquarters
>> http://www.businessinsider.com/poorly-timed-headquarters-2009-11 <
>> http://www.businessinsider.com/poorly-timed-headquarters-2009-11>
>> I generally buy the idea that the distraction of creating the perfect new
>> building/monument tends to steal attention from ruthlessly executing the
>> business.
> That is a nicely ambiguous phrase...  For Apple and Amazon (and formerly
> Google and Facebook), faced with way too much cash, it is a logical
> option.  It could pay off in various ways, but just eating up some cash is
> probably justification enough.
> As long as buildings are built large enough to hold one of these for my
> office, I'm good.  I'll even pay for it myself.
> http://www.officepod.co.uk/
> Or: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2259583/Home-
> Darth-Vader-office-future-The-designer-workroom-intended-
> improve-family-life-end-commuting.html
> Of course what I really want is:
> https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/b/bf/
> MeditationChamber-ESB.png/revision/latest?cb=20130219043321
> But I'll probably have to settle for:
> https://www.cnet.com/news/helmfon-noise-isolating-helmet-hochu-rayu-work/
> sdw
>> Andrew
>> On Sep 11, 2017, at 7:02 PM, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
>>> Are our tech giants getting a bad case of edifice complex?  First
>>> Apple with the "spaceship" HQ, and now Amazon putting out an RFP for
>>> their second headquarters.
>>> Last week, sdw mentioned one of the most famous engineering "laws"
>>> (Postel's).  Well, way back at my first professional, permanent job
>>> (GE R&D), Stephen Spacil, one of my colleagues, had come up with an
>>> engineering "law" that ought to be better known:
>>> By the time you build a new facility for an opportunity, the
>>> opportunity will have passed.
>>> There were many examples at GE in Niskayuna, like the coal
>>> gasification building that wasn't completed until coal gasification
>>> was shown to be a dead end both economically and technically, or the
>>> lab space purpose-built for a division that was sold shortly before
>>> the lab was completed.
>>> And the corollary is that junky buildings, like MIT's famous Building
>>> 20 [1] (built as temporary lab space during WWII, but used for more
>>> than 50 years) are often the most productive spaces for novel ideas
>>> because no one cared what happened to it -- labs routinely drilled
>>> holes in walls and floors to make space or connections for unwieldy
>>> equipment, for example.
>>> Really makes me wonder about Apple's new headquarters which is
>>> probably too beautiful to hack if a flexible space is needed, and now
>>> Amazon's stated goal of adding a second headquarters.
>>> Ken Meltsner
>>> [1]  Brand, Stewart (1995). How buildings learn: what happens after
>>> they're built. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-013996-9., cited
>>> at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_20
>>> --
>>> After 30+ years of email, I have used up my supply of clever .sig
>>> material.
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