Bryan Pflug's blog

Seven deadly organizational sins and their penance

As a complement to the original Seven deadly sins, there are a set of classic organizational patterns that are equally hazardous to achieving an organization's potential. I offer them here, in no particular order, to stimulate consideration about their pervasiveness, validate the seriousness of their impact, and educate and instruct others regarding the risks which they represent.

The risks of risk management

Risk balanceLet's say you were not feeling well, and felt that you needed to go to the doctor for help. Let's also say that you had a history with this doctor in which your interactions tended to produce lists of all the things that might be wrong with you, but never produced any treatment for these candidate diagnoses. Let's say you were still offered regular follow-ups, to monitor the state of this situation, but your doctor was unable to sketch out a credible path which would lead you to improving your health. Would you still want to continue to see this doctor? Even if you felt that you might have a serious disease, wouldn't you ask yourself if you were already doing all the things that could be done?

Would you take the time to go back to the doctor, just to continue to monitor the progression of your disease? And would your decision likely also depend upon your perception of the seriousness of the disease? Finally, if your condition was indeed serious, but potentially untreatable, wouldn't you perhaps really rather not want to know?

Passion and new knowledge beats old knowledge

Movie ratings generated by CinematchNetflix has been running their own X-prize ('Netflix prize'), a crowdsourcing competition for a million dollars to come up with a better algorithm for predicting movie preferences than the algorithm Netflix is currently using. That approach, Cinematch, currently captures 2 million new ratings (between 1 and 5 stars) per day, and is used to predict preferences ('if you liked Braveheart, you will also like...') for the 65,000 movies they rent, about 1 billion times per day.


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