straight shooter, the lost artform

From David Heinemeier Hansson aka DHH's talk at Stanford, Unlearn Your MBA:

"I have a funny example of how bad things can go when your brain has become all mushy with all this MBA bullshit.

This is Domino's CEO David Brandon talking a few weeks ago:

'The weakness in our value chain with the customer was really in our core product.'

...What?? What does that even mean? Well, I tried to translate that into human, and what I came up with was:

'Let's be honest, our pizza used to suck. I'm sorry. I swear the new ones will be better.'"

I don't know where all this bullshit comes from. But there's a lot of it these days. People paid way too much to simply regurgitate buzzwords and "best practices" and trends. I think it comes from a fear to really think.

Much of this type of convoluted language comes from giant corporations (that, to be honest, are probably all going to crumble and get replaced over the following century). When you're a tightly run ship, your teams don't have the patience for inefficient talk. There's shit to do! Things that need to get done! Ambitious goals in the horizon, not enough time, not enough money to dream of flying business class. More time spent arguing the specifics, less time blabbering incoherent things about "corporate strategy."

But when an organization gets bloated in any way, the incentives change. Individuals in fat companies are primarily incented to demonstrate to each other that they are smart. Why? Because the worst case scenario of anything they do is that nothing terrible happens to the company. The lights stay on. The best case is that they get a new corner office and a pat on the back. All on their way to finally retiring and getting to enjoy the finer things in life. (Side note: this dream is akin to buying a BMW because it's prestigious, driving it like hell for 200k miles, then treating it nicely for its last 100k. The BMW ends up a junker before it even hits 100k).

When buzzwords and bullshit reign supreme in a realm, you can be sure that this realm is about to (or already has) descended into deep politicking. It seems like a pretty good litmus test, actually, to read anything written by "thought leaders" in a particular industry and see the types of language being used.

You can easily figure out 1) if an entire industry suffers from bullshit, and 2) which individual companies are actually doing a great job of avoiding said bullshit.

Also, Domino's new pizza is actually pretty fucking great! Good job, David Brandon.