23 August 2005

Techno Sapiens: Do or Be

"To Be somebody or to Do something"
BOYD: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, by Robert Coram.

[Before The Jenius begins, kudos to Kevin Shockey and Myself for being selected to appear on Global Voices, sponsored by the Harvard Law Center.]

Colonel John Boyd was the fighter pilot credited with radically changing the way battles are fought. Although his war skills are not relevant here, his determination of the kind of people needed to get the job done is. Col. Boyd decided there are two kinds of people: those who do things and those who want to be something. The difference is vital to success.

"Do" people focus obsessively on "the work itself" and carry a "damn the torpedoes" attitude about everything else. "Be" people obsess on the politics, the rank, the title, the job description, the next promotion or assignment...essentially everything BUT the work itself.

Tom Peters, in his 1,400+ slide presentation, lists "My Kinda Folks," the people he just loves to work with and wants to see more of. Here's an excerpt of that list:

1) Intuitive (more than) Purely logical. (Routinely make strange connections)
2) Incredible passion for the work/Lingering idealism (though also cynical- a paradox)
3) Persistent/Relentless (to a fault)[TJ: Almost or often obsessive]
4) Like the long shots (Don Quixote-ish)
5) Stay on the case long after being ordered to drop it [TJ: See #3]
6) (Take on) cases no one else wants (hot potatoes, dead ends, political nightmares, "unimportant" victims)
7) Constant thorns in the side of bureaucracy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [TJ: Give The Fools HELL!]
8) Repeatedly exiled to professional "Siberia" (so annoyingly good and so annoying per se that others try to do him terminal professional harm)
9) Little in the way of career prospects [TJ: As defined by "Be" pukes]
10) Work mostly solo (Secretive)[TJ: Greater sense of freedom, not fear]
11) "Work" "old pals network" to get info-leads beyond their charter
12) Master of the End Run! [TJ: Create new ways to get things done]
13) Often (are) their own worst enemies
14) Don't work out enough
15) Excessive work has estranged from family
16) More or less shabbily dressed [TJ: Appearance means nothing; results are what counts]
17) Drive shabby cars [TJ: See #16]
18) Not money/security oriented (can't help themselves, just gotta get involved) [TJ: Would actually PAY to get involved in cool/great/radical projects]
19) GET THE DAMN JOB DONE!(and don't expect/get much appreciation) [TJ: Don't deny this because it is the Truth]

You know if you are a "Do" person or a "Be" person. If you want to lie to yourself and say "I'm a 'Do'" when you cling to your cubicle, timeclock and little box in a Table of Organization, go ahead: you hurt no one but yourself. The true damage is done by "Wanna-Dos"--many of them Fools--who are "Be" people from scaly head to slimy toes who clog progress, impede creativity and act as life-sapping parasites to those of Us who Live to Do.

Oh yes, The Jenius is definitely a Do person. The question is: are you?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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