Categotry Archives: Management

The value of promises for the future

When I was 18 years old and first got my driving license, all the talk among my peers was about insurance costs.  When you’re a young male – and by definition a total idiot – car insurance is understandably very high, and you can end up being quoted premiums of $2,000 per year on a $700 car.  The standard refrain from the insurance companies was “it’s high because you’re under 21”, and 21 was the magic age at which car […]

Women engineers face discrimination, but not in the way you think

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and as such I received a company-wide email from the bowels of HR telling me I should respect women for the job they do.  Which I thought I already did, but obviously not. I met up for lunch with a former colleague of mine who now works for another company, an intelligent, pleasant, and competent female engineer.  In the morning she had been called together with other female engineers in her office by one […]

The importance of speaking out

Martin Niemöller was a German pastor who is probably most famous for being the originator of this text and its variants: First they came for the Site Inspectors, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Site Inspector. Then they came for the Planners, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Planner. Then they came for the Project Engineers, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Project Engineer. Then they came for me—and […]

Firefighting

If a farmer receives a call from a neighbor that one of his sheep has escaped and is standing in the road, he will go out, fetch the sheep, and put it back in the field where it belongs.  Most likely the farmer will then make a tour of the hedgerows and fences to see where the sheep got out, and close up the hole when he finds it.  Certainly, if he gets two such calls about his sheep standing […]

Roundup

From the comments over at Tim Worstall’s: I happen to do a little work for a company started by a South African. He bought a British company and pitched up at a board meeting (chaired by a peer) where they were discussing which particular knob should be on the ethics committee or the audit committee. His contribution was “who’s going to be on the fucking profit committee?” Which serves nicely to illustrate the point I made here. The Daily Mail […]

Nations and Corporations: Parallel Decadence

It can sometimes be an interesting exercise to compare countries with corporations.  Not in the usual sense that dimwitted Social Justice Warriors do when they compare a company’s market capital (a stock) with a country’s GDP (a flow).  You might as well compare a lake with a river (and iif you’re a SJW, express concern that the Rio Grande is bigger than Crater Lake).  On this point, Tim Worstall explains all. No, I’m thinking more along the lines of how […]

Modern thinking at Netflix

In having a lazy day surfing the ‘net I stumbled across this gem of an article written by one Patty McCord who was chief talent office at Netflix between 1998 to 2012.  It describes the management techniques employed by the CEO Reed Hastings, and the way in which they differed from those of other companies, across a period which saw Netflix grow from nothing to being one of the biggest media companies in the world.  Entertainment media is a lot […]

Pointless reporting

There are few signs of an incompetent manager more prominent than a demand that his or her employees compile weekly reports. First some clarifications.  If a project manager is responsible for ongoing works in several, geographically-spread locations across multiple time-zones, then regular reports containing pertinent information are useful.  I’m not talking about that.  Also, a single report containing a limited number of project KPIs (e.g. volume of concrete poured, manpower on site, etc.) compiled by one individual each week or month and […]

Socareless

With Socar being a state-owned company in a country which is about as transparent as Hillary Clinton’s past business deals, I doubt we’re ever going to find out what caused the fire on board their platform in the Caspian sea over the weekend which seems to have cost the lives of 29 people, with another 3 having been swept overboard a separate platform operated by the same company. Which leaves the floor clear for people like me to indulge in uninformed […]

Profile view

One of the most damning things about the state of the oil industry is how this downturn – which has sent oil to between $40-$50 per barrel – has caused the whole industry to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights.  As I have said before: We last saw $50 per barrel oil in late 2004, before which it had been consistently lower than that.  I was working in the industry in late 2004 and I don’t recall there being […]