Start-up : en finir avec l’impératif hégémonique

Part of the problem seems to be that nobody these days is content to merely put their dent in the universe. No, they have to fucking own the universe. It’s not enough to be in the market, they have to dominate it. It’s not enough to serve customers, they have to capture them. (David Heinemeier Hansson)

David Heinemeier Hansson (aka @dhh) vient de publier un billet éminemment dhhien : punchy, iconoclaste et très bien informé. Aligné avec son intervention marquante à la Start-up school 2008 de Stanford, il prend encore une fois pour cible une certaine culture startup : hégémonique, se concentrant sur une hypothétique dimension disruptive, obsédée par les milliards et la domination du monde, complètement décorrélée de la réalité.

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Sunday Quote – Sherry Turkle

Overwhelmed by the pace that technology makes possible, we think about how new, more efficient technologies might help dig us out. But new devices encourage ever-greater volume and velocity. In this escalation of demands, one of the things that comes to feel safe is using technology to connect to people at a distance, or more precisely, to a lot of people from a distance. But even a lot of people from a distance can turn out to be not enough people at all (…) Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. (…) Our networked life allows us to hide from each other even as we are tethered to each other.

Sherry Turkle is Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technologies at MIT. This blog has already discusses about her rather fascinating TED talk. The quote above is taken from her book Alone Together – Why we expect more from technology and less from each other.

This books shares many stories to make his point, the one from the quote above. It is not very comfortable read but it is a critical one. Especially when you have teenagers at home addicted to their Facebook profile which somehow makes them lose sight of reality. I am quite surprised as many online friends avoid the conversation altogether.

While I was reading this book, I managed to incidentally see Her the beautiful movie by Spike Jonze telling the love story between a melancholic guy and an electronic device (OK : with Scarlett Johansson voice). The movie has vividly resonated with the main themes of the book. A strongly recommend one to watch.

Ce que signifie la transformation digitale : le passage à l’économie de l’apprentissage


Ce billet est la conclusion de la série Ce que signifie la transformation digitale. Les autres sont disponibles en ligne :

  1. Définition et enjeux
  2. les points cardinaux (1/2) : relation client, produits et services, processus, outils
  3. les points cardinaux (2/2) : leadership, culture, équipe et management
  4. les projets
  5. l’ingénierie

Cette synthèse avance que la transformation digitale marque la bascule de l’économie de la connaissance à celle de l’apprentissage permanent. Et voici pourquoi …

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Ce que signifie la transformation digitale – 5ème partie

Ce nouvel épisode de la série consacrée à la transformation digitale s’intéresse à la culture de l’ingénierie, et, plus particulièrement, comme on peut s’en douter, à celle de l’ingénierie numérique.

La vidéo ci-dessus, est probablement une de celles apportant l’éclairage le plus précis sur la nouvelle culture de l’ingénierie numérique. John Allspaw a travaillé pour Friendster, a dirigé l’équipe IT de Flickr de 2005 à 2010 (9 personnes pour passer de 2 à 5 milliards de photos en ligne sur ce site communautaire) et est aujourd’hui SVP Infrastructure & Operations chez le site de vente en ligne

Pionnier de l’approche DevOps et de la Continuous Delivery, Allspaw décrit parfaitement dans cette vidéo les principes d’ingénierie à l’oeuvre chez ces entreprises phares du numérique. Le 1er billet de la série sur la transformation digitale avance comme hypothèse que LE logiciel de ces entreprises est la mantra exprimée par Eric Ries dans Lean Startup : Build, Measure, Learn ; cette présentation de Allspaw en est une parfaite incarnation.

Une culture de l’ingénierie très souvent à l’opposée de celles constatées dans nos DSIs qui sont pourtant elles aussi, soumises aux enjeux de cette transformation …

Continue reading “Ce que signifie la transformation digitale – 5ème partie”

Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration


There have been 2 milestones in my story with online collaboration tools. First, at the turn of the century, these have helped me to get out of a very tricky professional situation. Then I was fascinated by the geek culture after I joined an innovative start-up in 2004, where everybody would use such tools while collaborating in a very efficient way. And I kept on telling myself : why on earth isn’t everyone working like this ? This is fun, exciting, engaging I need to tell the world this is the way to go.

I have been a very active supporter of these ever since, in particular during the 2009 – 2011 period during which I have blogged extensively on the topic. Looking back to this activism, I have realized that I was making some major misconceptions, the very same that people talking about future of work or hacker culture are making today IMHO.

  1. People who are not digital literate won’t see the value of online collaboraton tools, especially if they don’t collaborate in the first place. In other words, technology is more an obstacle than an enabler to create a culture of collaboration.
  2. The hacking culture has emerged from people who are more comfortable collaborating online then in real life. Thank God, we are a minority (I’m counting myself in).
  3. Online collaboration tools are used to scale collaboration throughout the organization. If there is no collaboration in the enterprise, you ain’t gonna scale anything but frustration.

If buying enterprise software was actually solving organization problems, my job (organization coach/consultant, i.e. fixing broken organizations) would not be a multi-billion dollar industry. If this a strategy, it is just a CIO/VP self-preservation one (“No CIO hs been fired for buying ${enterprise_software_vendor} solutions”).

This easy approach has even less chances to succeed for something as fragile as enterprise collaboration. It may, though, in very specific contexts, but in my opinion these are more evidences of leadership of the professionals making their project a success (Claire FlanaganDan Pontrefact, or Celine Schillinger being names coming to mind) than evidences of the viability of such initiatives.

Baring in mind these sad truths, this post proposes an alternate strategy to root collaboration in the organization. Continue reading “Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration”

#hypertextual @ Agile France 2015

Le programme de la conférence Agile France 2015 est sorti. J’aurai l’honneur d’y présenter une session de 20 minutes sur un sujet qui me permettra de faire un pas de côté : la mise en oeuvre de principes agiles dans le chantier de rénovation de ma maison en 2006.

On reproche parfois à la communauté agile une approche communautaire et contre-culturelle (pour faire court : “une bande d’illuminés baba-cools”) de l’entreprise. Toutefois, on ne peut nier qu’au programme d’Agile France on retrouve des sujets directement liés avec la réalité (douloureuse) des DSIs que j’accompagne.

Alors que le monde de l’entreprise se penche sans cesse davantage sur cette mouvance fortement inspirée du Lean et très active dans l’industrie reine du 21ème siècle (l’IT), la conférence Agile France est une bonne occasion de se mettre à niveau sur les principes bien sûr, mais surtout sur les pratiques de cette approche vertueuse et diablement efficace.  Continue reading “#hypertextual @ Agile France 2015”

Sunday Quote : Alvin Toffler

“The Illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”

Alvin Toffler is is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution and technological singularity.

It is a very popular (and slided) quote. I have seen it in the slide deck of two very influent people in my career : Multi-talented blogger and über expert in social collaboration Rawn Shah and connected machine services visionary, Daniel Harari, the Lectra CEO.

Everybody agrees on the necessity of learning. However, not so many people promote the necessity of unlearning, i.e changing habits and mental models. Try brushing your teeth with th other hand or fold you arms the other way as Mike Rother suggests in this amazing talk, you’ll know how it feels to get out of your’s comfort zone.

How do you learn, unlearn and relearn ? How can you tell you have learnt, how do you know ? How is your company doing it ?