Bursting Bubbles


I subscribed to Fast Company ten years ago and collected 4-5 years worth of the magazine. The trouble was that it is very advertisement-heavy which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself as many of the ads were insightful and thought-provoking in their own right; the problem was that each issue was really thick and at 12 issues + specials every year, the stacks weren’t getting any smaller. As stimulating as the articles were (and I assume still are) and despite my own proclivity for accumulating paper, something had to go and so Fast Company disappeared off my radar. I suppose I could have tried to keep track of it online but, dial-up connection or not, I struggle to maintain situational awareness with the current blog roll and distribution lists…

Curzon @ Coming Anarchy asks some questions about a Fast Company finding that the gap between our social and economic beliefs is much the same as when we are teenagers just setting out in the world, and when we hit middle age, even though the beliefs themselves are diametrically opposed. I think the answer to his question is pretty simple and that is consequences. As young people, we are often oblivious to the concept of consequences and wreak merry havoc with our lives and often those of others. If you took the Fast Company survey further, it is likely that you would find that the same permissive approach extends to just about every aspect of a young person’s life, not solely social and economic… in fact, the social and economic head line is a bit of a red herring

So the real finding is actually a lot simpler – when we are young, we take more risks, and are less considerate of consequences…by the time we hit middle age, we have been burned a few times, may be a lot of times and are only too familiar with the Newtonian inevitability of consequences…

Perhaps the real story behind the Fast Company report is the issue that I commented on at Travels with Shiloh earlier this morning…

Regardless of the topic, I think that root cause behind the issues you raise is that for well over a decade now, maybe two or even more, we have stopped teaching people how to think critically and objectively. Today the ‘rule’ is to seek that information that supports the case you want to put up and to ignore or mitigate that which does not. Once upon a time, we would consider all the information and draw a conclusion based upon what was, not what we wanted it to be…and if that meant our report did not reflect the beauty of the Emperor’s new cloths then so be it. Better a sour mouthful up front than a diet of sand later on…perhaps if some senior ‘thinkers’ had been more objective, the mess in Iraq would never have occurred and the campaign in Afghanistan would have been a done deal one way or another by the end of 2004.

The superficiality of many contemporary researchers and their reports was something we saw again and again in the lessons learned world; and it was only when ABCA developed the CLAW that some light appeared at the end of the tunnel. As of the 2009 CLAW, that light was clearly brighter as many participants already had their heads around the processes and the need to disregard the symptoms on the surface and drill into the core issues.

I keep harping on about the CLAW (and the follow-on OUTLAW process) because they are the only ones I have seen in ten years in the LL game that actually work and get to the heart of an issue. The key however is that you still need people with the honesty and courage to run with oft-unpopular and unpalatable findings…perhaps if the authors of this report in New Jersey gangs had stepped back from the issues a bit more and been a bit more open-minded they would have produced something more worth reading?

Maybe I’m on a bit of a roll today (possibly the effects of a long weekend and/or a number of large G&Ts last night – ran out of beer and it’s 40km to the local) but this also ties into my hobby-horsing over at Neptunus Lex about my most-hated quote “…amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics…

I don’t think this post is really about logistics at all but I just have to add my 2 cents re that amateurs and professionals line…it is an absolute crock!! The log fraternity have spent two decades crowing from the top of their dung heap about how THEY won the Gulf War and have forgotten that, in the final outcome, they are but a supporting act to operations…

This is a theme that I have come across a number of times in my work in the last couple of weeks and I think that it is way past time that the loggies dragged themselves out of the Fulda Gap Railway Station and got into the 21st Century; stopped dictating what can and can not be done got into the game of supporting operations. My current bug bear is the falseness of ‘one fuel’ policies which might look all very nice and efficient in the hallowed halls of the G-4 (anyone’s G-4 not just that in the five-sided building) but which reduces effectiveness at the sharp end where operators are unable to introduce the niche capabilities needed for operations because they won’t run on the ‘one’ fuel…

In 2000, a MAJ Morris from the USMC wrote a staff paper on contemporary use of flying columns as part of OMFTS doctrine In it, he debunks many of the logistic myths/obstacles to operations, using Rommel and Monty as examples of a. just getting on with the job and b. keeping log staffs in their subordinate boxes…This is not to diminish the importance of logistics to successful operations just to keep it in perspective with other supporting functions like personnel, intel, plans, comms, training, and doctrine/lessons.

The Morris paper is a great read and I recommend it without reservation and more so because it was written pre-911 but still holds true through the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is delivered in three parts:

  • A general history of the use of flying columns in the 20th Century.
  • A dedicated case study on the SADF’s Operation MODULAR into Angola in 1984.
  • An exploration of how the flying column/bubble concept might be applied in a MEU or MEB.

Thinking out of the square, getting the facts and bursting conceptual bubbles…that’s what we need more off…

One thought on “Bursting Bubbles

  1. Just to share an expirience:
    I found a solution to download Youtube movies. Some of are web sites where you put the url from YouTube and it gives you file with strange extension and small size. Some are really complicated.
    My way was to use moviesherlock (moviesherlock.com or sm like this – please ask me – will rememeber). Really simple utility, that just works, and only 1 button in software.
    [url=http://download.cnet.com/3001-2140_4-75065920.html?spi=68a87b0bad1ea20e12285c5005469cde]I downloaded it from here: http://download.cnet.com/3001-2140_4-75065920.html?spi=68a87b0bad1ea20e12285c5005469cde%5B/url%5D.
    I downloaded even HD movies!

    But it looks too easy, has no player, but just works. It downloaded ~12 concurrent movies for me and actually slows down my system. Its possible to do search in [url=http://moviesherlock.com]moviesherlock[/url] and search results differs from what you see in YouTube. Thats strange.
    Who knows – youTube results are different for same text? I likes cat (Simons cat / dog).
    Why doesn’t youtube allows to download its movies without external tools?!! It actually sucks!

    Thanks in advance!

    Like

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