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Francois Bergeron

Taskworld: Improving how the world collaborates-one task at a time™ - 0 views

  • A task management platform that measures performance and improves execution
Kurt Laitner

Elance unveils Private Talent Cloud to drive freelance revolution | VentureBeat | Busin... - 1 views

  • oDesk, Freelancer.com, and Guru step in
  • Pearson said that businesses hire, manage and pay freelancers through a variety of different tools, agencies, and resources, which is expensive, time-consuming, and can lead to errors.
Francois Bergeron

Maudit courriel - archives | LesAffaires.com - 0 views

  • bannir les courriels à l'interne
  • courriels internes
  • Shayne Hughes n'a pas eu de mal à convaincre ses employés de mettre une croix sur les courriels internes de manière définitive, à quelques exceptions près. Notamment, le courriel peut être utilisé pour communiquer avec un collègue travaillant à l'extérieur, pour transmettre des fichiers ou encore afin de laisser des traces, lorsque la situation l'exige.
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  • Le problème, c'est qu'on utilise le courriel pour tenir des conversations. D'abord, les conversations par courriel finissent par devenir illisibles. On a aussi tendance à inclure des gens qui ne sont pas concernés. Ensuite, elles peuvent être des sources de conflits, car c'est très facile d'écrire dans un courriel quelque chose qu'on aurait tu si on avait été face à son interlocuteur.»
  • La première réaction de mes employés a été de dire que ce n'était pas possible, qu'ils ne pourraient pas travailler. Après la semaine, quand on a fait le point, le discours avait changé. Ils étaient moins stressés et avaient eu le temps de faire plus de choses.
  • Adieu courriel, bonjour réseau social
  • Après avoir évalué quelque 200 réseaux sociaux pour entreprises, nous en avons retenu deux
  • Dans les faits, les entreprises souhaitent avant tout que leurs employés communiquent entre eux le plus efficacement possibl
  •  
    A company eliminated 100% of internal email. Reading and writing internal emails can takes 2 hours per day for the average worker. A wiki is a way to avoid to write and read internal emails in an organisation: you choose what you want to read from your colleagues and what info you need. 
Kurt Laitner

Why Valve? Or, what do we need corporations for and how does Valve's management structu... - 0 views

  • Valve’s management model; one in which there are no bosses, no delegation, no commands, no attempt by anyone to tell someone what to do
  • Every social order, including that of ants and bees, must allocate its scarce resources between different productive activities and processes, as well as establish patterns of distribution among individuals and groups of output collectively produced.
  • the allocation of resources, as well as the distribution of the produce, is based on a decentralised mechanism functioning by means of price signals:
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  • Interestingly, however, there is one last bastion of economic activity that proved remarkably resistant to the triumph of the market: firms, companies and, later, corporations. Think about it: market-societies, or capitalism, are synonymous with firms, companies, corporations. And yet, quite paradoxically, firms can be thought of as market-free zones. Within their realm, firms (like societies) allocate scarce resources (between different productive activities and processes). Nevertheless they do so by means of some non-price, more often than not hierarchical, mechanism!
  • they are the last remaining vestiges of pre-capitalist organisation within… capitalism
  • Hayek’s argument was predicated upon the premise that knowledge is always ‘local’ and all attempts to aggregate it are bound to fail. The world, in his eyes, is too complex for its essence to be distilled in some central node; e.g. the state.
  • The idea of spontaneous order comes from the Scottish Enlightenment, and in particular David Hume who, famously, argued against Thomas Hobbes’ assumption that, without some Leviathan ruling over us (keeping us “all in awe”), we would end up in a hideous State of Nature in which life would be “nasty, brutish and short”
  • Hume’s counter-argument was that, in the absence of a system of centralised command, conventions emerge that minimise conflict and organise social activities (including production) in a manner that is most conducive to the Good Life
  • The miracle of the market, according to Hayek, was that it managed to signal to each what activity is best for herself and for society as a whole without first aggregating all the disparate and local pieces of knowledge that lived in the minds and subconscious of each consumer, each designer, each producer. How does this signalling happen? Hayek’s answer (borrowed from Smith) was devastatingly simple: through the movement of prices
  • The idea here is that, through this ever-evolving process, people’s capacities, talents and ideas are given the best chance possible to develop and produce synergies that promote the Common Good. It is as if an invisible hand guides Valve’s individual members to decisions that both unleash each person’s potential and serve the company’s collective interest (which does not necessarily coincide with profit maximisation).
  • Hume thought that humans are prone to all sorts of incommensurable passions (e.g. the passion for a video game, the passion for chocolate, the passion for social justice) the pursuit of which leads to many different types of conventions that, eventually, make up our jointly produced spontaneous order
  • In contrast, Smith and Hayek concentrate their analysis on a single passion: the passion for profit-making
  • Hume also believed in a variety of signals, as opposed to Hayek’s exclusive reliance on price signalling
  • One which, instead of price signals, is based on the signals Valve employees emit to one another by selecting how to allocate their labour time, a decision that is bound up with where to wheel their tables to (i.e. whom to work with and on what)
  • He pointed out simply and convincingly that the cost of subcontracting a good or service, through some market, may be much larger than the cost of producing that good or service internally. He attributed this difference to transactions costs and explained that they were due to the costs of bargaining (with contractors), of enforcing incomplete contracts (whose incompleteness is due to the fact that some activities and qualities cannot be fully described in a written contract), of imperfect monitoring and asymmetrically distributed information, of keeping trade secrets… secret, etc. In short, contractual obligations can never be perfectly stipulated or enforced, especially when information is scarce and unequally distributed, and this gives rise to transaction costs which can become debilitating unless joint production takes place within the hierarchically structured firm. Optimal corporation size corresponds, in Coase’s scheme of things, to a ‘point’ where the net marginal cost of contracting out a service or good (including transaction costs) tends to zero 
  • As Coase et al explained in the previous section, the whole point about a corporation is that its internal organisation cannot turn on price signals (for if it could, it would not exist as a corporation but would, instead, contract out all the goods and services internally produced)
  • Each employee chooses (a) her partners (or team with which she wants to work) and (b) how much time she wants to devote to various competing projects. In making this decision, each Valve employee takes into account not only the attractiveness of projects and teams competing for their time but, also, the decisions of others.
  • Valve differs in that it insists that its employees allocate 100% of their time on projects of their choosing
  • Valve is, at least in one way, more radical than a traditional co-operative firm. Co-ops are companies whose ownership is shared equally among its members. Nonetheless, co-ops are usually hierarchical organisations. Democratic perhaps, but hierarchical nonetheless. Managers may be selected through some democratic or consultative process involving members but, once selected, they delegate and command their ‘underlings’ in a manner not at all dissimilar to a standard corporation. At Valve, by contrast, each person manages herself while teams operate on the basis of voluntarism, with collective activities regulated and coordinated spontaneously via the operations of the time allocation-based spontaneous order mechanism described above.
  • In contrast, co-ops and Valve feature peer-based systems for determining the distribution of a firm’s surplus among employees.
  • There is one important aspect of Valve that I did not focus on: the link between its horizontal management structure and its ‘vertical’ ownership structure. Valve is a private company owned mostly by few individuals. In that sense, it is an enlightened oligarchy: an oligarchy in that it is owned by a few and enlightened in that those few are not using their property rights to boss people around. The question arises: what happens to the alternative spontaneous order within Valve if some or all of the owners decide to sell up?
Tiberius Brastaviceanu

Places to Intervene in a System by Donella H. Meadows - developer.*, Developer Dot Star - 0 views

  • Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points."
  • where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.
  • backward intuition
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  • "Places to Intervene in a System," followed by nine items:

    9.  Numbers (subsidies, taxes, standards).

    8.  Material stocks and flows.

    7.  Regulating negative feedback loops.

    6.  Driving positive feedback loops.

    5.  Information flows.

    4.  The rules of the system (incentives, punishment, constraints).

    3.  The power of self-organization.

    2.  The goals of the system.

    1.  The mindset or paradigm out of which the goals, rules, feedback structure arise.

  • an invitation to think more broadly about system change.
  • Numbers ("parameters" in systems jargon) determine how much of a discrepancy turns which faucet how fast.
  • some of which are physically locked in, but most of which are popular intervention points.
  • Probably ninety-five percent of our attention goes to numbers, but there's not a lot of power in them.
  • Not that parameters aren't important—they can be, especially in the short term and to the individual who's standing directly in the flow. But they rarely change behavior. If the system is chronically stagnant, parameter changes rarely kick-start it. If it's wildly variable, they don't usually stabilize it. If it's growing out of control, they don't brake it.
  • Spending more on police doesn't make crime go away.
  • Numbers become leverage points when they go into ranges that kick off one of the items higher on this list.
  • Probably the most common kind of critical number is the length of delay in a feedback loop.
  • A delay in a feedback process is critical relative to rates of change (growth, fluctuation, decay) in the system state that the feedback loop is trying to control.
  • Delays that are too short cause overreaction, oscillations amplified by the jumpiness of the response. Delays that are too long cause damped, sustained, or exploding oscillations, depending on how much too long. At the extreme they cause chaos. Delays in a system with a threshold, a danger point, a range past which irreversible damage can occur, cause overshoot and collapse.
  • delays are not often easily changeable
  • It's usually easier to slow down the change rate (positive feedback loops, higher on this list), so feedback delays won't cause so much trouble
  • Most systems have evolved or are designed to stay out of sensitive parameter ranges. Mostly, the numbers are not worth the sweat put into them.
  • The plumbing structure, the stocks and flows and their physical arrangement, can have an enormous effect on how a system operates.
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