vague, but exciting

the porous city - commerce - management consulting



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Closer to "management consultants without borders", which is what I'm looking for.

First read something by her when I was in junior high, I thought it was fascinating - she is to old-school futurists what cyberpunk is to old-school scifi. But these predictions are pretty timid. She completely ignores the War on Terror, it's sort of magnificent, but it shows up how oriented her work is to coastal progressives, and to commercial interests (her clients) rather than political interests.

Bureaucracy as high-context culture
Reading about how information architecture work is culturally specific led me to Edward Hall's Beyond Culture. Low-context = your typical Protestant, straight square rigid culture, explicit and rule-based. High-context = relationship-based, rules as guidelines, the connection more important than the part. Half of all travel writing describes the comical mishaps that result from a low-context culture individual visiting a country with a high-context culture.

Anyway, this struck me because I've been working in a large, relatively old bureaucracy for the last couple months, and the high-context culture description fits it well (although in other ways these people have nothing in common with, say, Italians.) The organization acts as a web more than a set of silos, and it's very difficult to pin down responsibility anywhere. People have evolved working styles tied to specific relationships, and as you can imagine the whole mess is very difficult to change.

More meaningless business idioms that signify the speaker is an unthinking robot*

Anna asked about this and I couldn't come up with enough in real time. I've done this before.

  • Key, e.g. "key drivers of profitability". Accused of: vagueness. Usually used as a synonym for "most important", but even that's too vague. Important why? Are they statistically most predictive? Are they the drivers most important for you to act on in the long term? Or just the most important for purposes of today's discussion?
  • Choiceful. For fuck's sake.
  • Drill down, e.g. "drill down to the key drivers of profitability." Nothing inherently wrong with it, I'm just sick of hearing it.

*I don't mean to sound contemptuous. I've used all of these, even choiceful. It's all love. Love and tireless self-criticism in the service of the revolution.

"Helping nonprofit organizations become more self-sustaining by generating revenue," interesting. I need to learn more about social venturing (or in this case what, social consulting?)

This site also has a searchable database of nonprofits' ventures and partnerships, which could be massively useful even if it is tilted toward their clients and partners.

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