Thursday, October 01, 2009

Believing the hype

So simple anyone can do it.
That’s the promise of today’s communication tools. You don’t need to know anything about all that messy HTML coding or what “plain text” means or what ASCII stands for or the difference between an email client and a web browser or how to keep your computer secure or how to wipe your—oh, wait, where was I? Right. All you need is to buy our whatever and all your problems are solved.

Managers—and this seems to apply to more of them the higher you go—buy into this hype and assume they can hire unschooled, unskilled subordinates to carry out their firms’ communication tasks.

The only trouble with this is that it isn’t true. If you rely entirely on software you don’t understand to encase your message in the fragile shell of a computer language you don’t understand, something is going to break and you will end up with egg on your face.

The solution? If you’re the subordinate, go out and educate yourself about your tools. If you’re the manager, empower your subordinate to get the needed education. Or hire someone who already understand the technology better than you do.

This message brought to you by an email my wife received this morning, purportedly from a competently managed conference services provider about an upcoming conference, but you wouldn’t know that from trying to decipher it. Broken doesn’t begin to describe it.

Competence matters.

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