Friday, December 01, 2006

IT Culture and Politics

A friend and I were discussing politics over a few pints last night, and a few neat ideas came out of that discussion. At one point we were talking about the many positive aspects of IT culture, and how it's a shame that the world of politics is not somewhat similar. Here are some of those:

* Most IT people get a kick out of achievement. There is an obvious necessity for financial reward, but there is a financial comfort level above which there are other more powerful incentives driving the IT folks. Creating something new, something better often carries an intrinsic reward that outweighs financial rewards. This is rarely seen in politics where greed seems to have no limit.

* Skills are by far the number one factor on which IT people judge one another. No-one cares what sexual orientation an IT guy is, whether he smoked dope in university (or last weekend) or the fact that he passed out under the table at the last company Christmas party. Some of these may generate some good 'point-n-laugh' material but don't influence how that person is viewed professionally. That's cause who you sleep with generally has little effect on your code. It's irrelevant. We all remember the fiasco Clinton went through when he had some oval office Oh-face fun. I think his wife should have given him shit and that's that. It had nothing to do with how well he could do his job. Sadly it's just the thing that the political system loves to judge individuals by.

* It's very rare that an individual IT person takes the heat for a mistake. There is a general understanding that mistakes just as successes are owned by the entire team. Everyone makes mistakes. The idea is that other team members catch them and fix them asap. Politicians don't seem to be able to do this too well. It's more common to finger point and scream about how someone screwed up. Shut up and fix it.

* Good ideas are accepted regardless of who came up with them. At least in the IT world. Even companies who are rivals will copy good ideas from one another. It's very rare in the world of politics to see two rivals discuss something, and to hear one of them say "You know, that's a really good idea. I have to put that in my policies."

I'm sure there are many reasons for this, but one that we found interesting is that a large number of politicians are ex-lawyers. Anyone trust lawyers?

1 comment:

Miro said...

My addition:
The reason why i think lawyers go for politics is because the two jobs have the same work method.
lawyers have to be eloquent and trained in the art of 'bullshit language'.

IT people are scientists/mathematicians/problem solvers - they think in 'no bullshit' terms.
IT relies on efficiency and speed... not on manipulation and convincing other people you are god - like politicians do.

IT people show they are 'gods' by their actions/creations.

Just like the Church was the governing power in the middle ages, modern politicians use almost identical propaganda to control the masses nowadays.

The alchemists were never into that... they had better stuff to do - science/progress/invention - stuff that matters. :)