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Interesting blog post of part of an interview with Douglas Rushkoff (here’s the link to the post) – came to it by way of Hugh’s wiki.

The premise is that companies are focussing too much on brands, and ignoring the product. This sent a shiver down MY spine, being a bit close to home. It presents an alternative view to the thought that all management skills are freely interchangeable between industries by suggesting that

Abstracted processes only work for the person who first abstracted them. Everyone else – their successors – end up working with legacy systems they don’t truly understand from the inside out.

Why does this worry me? A senior manager at work last week posited that “we make money” – surely as abstracted a view of what we REALLY do as you are likely to get. Money may be a wished-for, even planned-for outcome of doing what you do well, but it is often much more serendipitous than that. Mints make money, banks make money – everybody else does something else and HOPES to make money.

The sort of workplace Rushkoff suggests is required is one where the managers are intimately involved with the culture and provision of the product/service being sold – in contrast to:

Managers who are disconnected from their products will necessarily care more about their own careers than the companies they are supposedly leading, too. Hell, they’re going to flip jobs, anyway. It’s become a generic position.

This is way too close to the bone …

[Update] Just read the second part of the interview … equally scary, especially for a team recently threatened with a team-building session based on Jungian typing!