Kirk uses a series of syllogisms to force M-5 into concluding it must destroy itself, which it does.
While you may not want to use your understanding of a coworker's personality to get them to destroy themselves, you may want to at least achieve buy-in on a project or strategy. Knowing what makes people tick, and adjusting your communication accordingly, works wonders in evoking better responses. You might also gain insight into your own personality and how it colors your message.
Don't be a Dr. McCoy, who spent years trying to push Mr. Spock into responding with more "feeling." Instead, use Kirk's approach, which was to communicate using logic with Spock, and to communicate using emotion with McCoy. The things we learn on TV!
17 April 2002
Why We Call Them Bugs
A waterbug skims silently across the top of a lake, tiny and hard to see. Before you know it, ripples seemingly emanating from nowhere traverse the lake very visibly for dozens of yards. Yes, the lake is your software development project. The tiny unseen bug creates a chain reaction of bumps throughout the program. It's late in the day, you only see the ripples. Now you have to trace them back to the surreptitious little waterbug.
"The early bird catches the bug." Incorporate quality early in the design, as well as test and review early in the building cycle. You'll catch most of the bugs as soon as they land on the lake.
6 November 2002
Sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do is move towards a goal. In a forum on software testing, or in a meeting about a process, for example, a goal might be to share knowledge so that ultimately software gets produced with better quality. One obstacle can be human feelings. A peculiar phenomenon of human feeling is "vehemence," which arises from having an emotional investment in an idea (for whatever reason). If I vehemently disagree with someone, do I move towards "the goal" by expressing that emotion? Probably just the opposite, since vehemence stimulates more vehemence, which fogs perception and intellectual activity until really nothing but fog is exchanged. If I'm really passionate about "the goal," then I will omit passionate feelings from my expression. I will try to get at the content of someone's expression and ignore the emotional wrapping. Debates rely on the principle of synthesis to do any good. So my return expression will be free of wrapping, and will address the ideas on the table as objectively as possible. Freedom from emotional context helps free people to effectively evaluate the ideas. It frees the best ideas to synthesize and turn into into practices, or action items, or a note-to-self to get more information.
Having adamant feelings, of course, is natural, to some more than others. There is some tendency to "cling to a point of view." An effective professional, however, will evaluate comments in a business and technical context, rather than in a context of vehement feelings. The result of this nonpersonal approach is, ironically, greater personal development, productivity, and learning skills. Who can argue with that?!
18 December 2002
Have you ever had a sudden brilliant idea that dramatically changed a project for the better? For example, when Einstein thought of the conversion of energy into mass. Or when Wittgenstein thought of language games. Or when Turing thought of building a machine.
Whether they change the world, your company, one project, or a process, sudden flashes of brilliance have one thing in common: they happen only after billions of neuro-transmissions have occurred in your work leading