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How Not to be a Drone

The September 8, 2008 issue of BusinessWeek magazine has an article titled, ” Management by the Numbers,” starting on page 32.  The article talks about a book, “The Numerati” by Stephen Baker.  It upsets me.  It makes me very glad to have my own business and be a home-based business.  It makes me very glad that the network marketing model of business is dependent on me…not a laboratory.  I understand, I think, how “big” business might want to automate human productivity, but there is just something incorrect about the notion in my mind. 

Sure, you could break down a network marketing business into how many phone calls you do, how much product you move, how many people in your downline, how many meetings you give and how many you attend.  But my business will always be based on my beliefs and goals and dreamsNot someone else shopping a list of skills and projects. 

Here’s on example from the article:

“…But if his system is successful, here’s how it will work: Picture an IBM manager who gets an assignment to send a team of five to set up a call center in Manila.  She sits down at the computer and fills out a form.  It’s almost like booking a vacation online.  She puts in the dates and clicks on menus to describe the job and the skills needed.  Perhaps she stipulates the ideal budget range.  The results come back, recommending a particular team.  All the skills are represented.  Maybe three of the five people have a history of working together smoothly.  They all have passports and live near airports with direct flights to Manila.  One of them even speaks Tagalog.”   [page 35]

Now, the article continues with the above example showing that this list contains a person whose cost per hour is very high, so the manager goes back and asks for a “cheaper” person, but that person only has a “69% fit” for the job…and so now the manager has to make some decisions.  So what’s wrong with this?

Reducing people to data bits just doesn’t sit well with me.  I grew up in the 1960’s and ’70’s…a time of individualism.  I take the individualistic nature of being an American to heart.  I don’t want to be reduced to a data bit.  I don’t want my life reduced to computer files that can be broken down into what I eat for lunch, what topics I talk about on Mondays or how long my daily commute is which then would tell some computer analyst what my productivity factor would be. 

There is an episode of the tv show “Numbers,” that had the bad guy murder his boss on principle.  Seems the victim was developing a computer model that would show geographical areas where it would probably not make good financial sense to pour money into education or opportunities based on statistical analysis.  In effect, reducing people to probablity models.  The bad guy…who came from one of the geographical areas in question…believed that you shouldn’t reduce people to statistics, that there will always be the exception, that you shouldn’t assume a person’s potential based on where they live. – this is my memory of the episode content, apologies if it is incorrect.

The magazine article continues with this paragraph: “…Haran says the efforts under way at places like IBM will not only break down each worker into sets of skills and knowledge.  The same systems will also divide their days and weeks into small periods of time – hours, half-hours, eventually even minutes.  At the same time, the jobs that have to be done, whether it’s building a software program or designing an airliner, are also broken down into tiny steps….Big jobs are parsed into thousands of tasks and divided among many workers….” 

Drones.  Sounds like turning people into drones.  Break up the work, search the data bank and find the drone for the job.

Well, I’m no Borg [trademark bad guy from Star Trek].  I will fight to keep my life, my skills out of anyone’s database. 

How not to be a drone?  Work for yourself.  Be your own boss.  How?  Look into a home-based business.  As an aside, the nutritional marketplace is a trillion dollar marketplace and the company for which I’m an Independent Distributor is a billion dollar company.  The opportunities for individualism is there.  The potential for a successful income based on your own work is there.  The opportunity to work and not have your every move tracked is there.

What is your opinion?


One Response

  1. Excellent article once again. It completely eliminates the “belief” one individual can have about another. The bytes on a computer will never show desire, the will, the spark that just needs the correct circumstances to blow into a fire. Good job Linda. Excellent topic and view point.
    Joyce Penner

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