The book is a nice collection of rules which the author discovered while finishing his PhD and transitioning into full time faculty position.
Working right trumps finding the right work.
The book presents Clayton’s counter intuitive thesis on how firms with good management practices and sound understanding of their customers need eventually fail at disruptive innovations (they succeed at sustainable innovations).
The book emphasizes that its not engineering but management oversight that leads to demise of incumbents (in the face of disruptive innovations).
One line summary: At some point, the incumbent’s product’s performance exceeds demand of most customers and the “edge” which this performance metrics provided is lost, customers’ value proposition changes, they start valuing some other metrics, along which a disruptor’s product has better performance (and has early mover’s advantage), leading to demise of incumbent.
Following are the salient ideas raised in the book.
The book emphasizes heavily on life education, glorifying college dropouts and questions college education (except for specialized fields like law and medicine).
Bureaucrats take the actions which are justifiable (by book or by order of their superiors), they care less about consequences (in case there are multiple possible actions, they let the politician decide the appropriate action).
Technocrats take the actions which (according to their analysis) have best (long term/short term) consequences, they care less about how harsh the action could be on certain individuals and their logical thinking usually fails to take into account the law of unintended consequences like Cobra Effect.
Politicians take the actions which are palatable and which are usually good for their (long term/short term, well, usually for next elections) popularity.
Till now, India was run primarily by politicians + bureaucrats, it seems to be transitioning towards politicians + technocrats.
It would be interesting to see the (short term/long term) consequences of this transition.
Note: The above statements are not my original discovery, I have read statements along similar lines at various sources.
The book is an insightful journey into contemporary understanding of human brain and how scientists are trying to replicate it.
Major takeaways from the book are listed below.
Thought experiments on the world
- Charles Lyell was the first person to propose that steady movement of water carves out gorges and canyons.
- This became inspiration for Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution.
- Both of them engaged in thought experiments looking for how things around them attained their states and discovered underlying phenomena.
- Similarly, Einstein after reading about the experiments which concluded that relative speed of light is always constant engaged in thought experiments which eventually lead to “Theory of relativity”.
- Human brain is remarkably amazing in its ability to identify such patterns and discover underlying phenomena just by thinking.
In 2013, we saw how internet activists’ snap judgements about interpretation (or misinterpretation?) of jokes at pycon destroyed the professional career of two individuals (Source: A Dongle Joke That Spiraled Way Out Of Control).
The internet activism first sympathised with Adria Richards and then decided to side with the developer, eventually both of them (and SendGrid customers temporarily) took a major hit which could probably have been resolved offline and would have never become a part of permanent history.
As if this was not enough, this year the same story has been repeated with Gurubaksh Chahal and his girlfriend Juliet Kakish.
The claim goes that he allegedly hit his girlfriend 117 times and she allegedly suffered bruises and injuries, there is an alleged video of that proving the same (I haven’t been able to find one yet that does not imply it does not exist though) (Source: A Letter To The Board Members Of RadiumOne).
Enough articles have been written about engineering crunch in the valley while some solutions have been suggested (like increasing equity grants to engineers), the bigger issue of broken recruiting pipeline has not gained the attention it deserves.
Its a job of recruiters to source potential candidates and most recruiters are compensated in form of a percentage (usually 20-30%) of annual base salary of the hired individual.
The book is a humorous compilation of pragmatic lessons which Scott Adams learned while navigating his professional career.
The author admits his failures as well as successes openly.
He also talks his personal medical problems (first hand and then speech).