Text and Hubris |

Peter Drucker and the Changing Nature of the Modern Corporation

In brief discussion with an executive who was talking about enabling more decentralized interactions between teams, Peter Drucker’s name came up. I’ve been meaning to do some work on Drucker for quite some time. While studies of his work are more likely to be found in MBA programs, I think the volume of the work and its time span, moving from World War II through the dawn of the Internet, could be useful reading for anyone approaching an analysis of the rise and struggle of modern business and the societies who must contend with it for better or worse. Drucker is interesting because he was, in many ways, a true believer in corporations while simultaneously offering a very deep critique of the approach and dynamics that had come to dominate their organizational and functional models. I thought that I heard his name today was particularly telling as it came on the day when the CEOs of many large companies announced a drastic revisioning of their approach to their companies, their employees, and their shareholders. In their announcement, these CEOs noted that profits cannot be the only guiding driver of the modern corporation. Corporations must also focus on building …

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The Internet in the Shadow of Big Tech

I read Cory Doctorow’s interview on the Bioneers site, and I think he hits on something interesting. There has been a growing trend where the larger, established, Internet companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc) have begun to warm to the idea of Internet regulation. The reason for this is simple. It keeps new players out of the Internet space. These large companies entered the marketplace without regulatory limitation and grew so large in part because there was nothing to stop them. Now, they are working with the government to help design regulations that will make it far more difficult for competitors to enter and compete. These companies built their empires on the backbone of a tax funded and government designed public network. They then expanded that network via tax breaks and almost zero regulation. Essentially, the economic system that built our modern conception of the Internet was designed to create these types of monopolies. Now, these same companies will use these new regulations to maintain their power.

There is a further danger. As these companies continue to grow and centralize that power, they become synonymous with the very idea of the Internet. Our concept of the Internet is one in …

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PhD Complete - Stage Next

Graduation Cap

Three months ago, on April 24th, I defended my dissertation and earned my doctorate. I was, at long last, Doctor Geoffrey Gimse. There was an almost jarring sense of the surreal when I realized that I had come to the culmination of of an 11 year sojourn. A sojourn that began when I decided to return to school at the University of Iowa and major, of all things, in English. At that moment, I told myself that if I was going to to do this, I was going all the way to the PhD.

It certainly hadn’t been an easy run, but there I was. I was done and that nagging question kept sitting there in the back of my head. It was a question that I had studiously avoided thinking about during the final push of dissertation writing, but it was always there waiting for me.

What next?

Here is the reality: I like teaching and research. I am fascinated by rhetoric and technology. I love writing with a passion I can’t ever fully express, and I find particular delight in creating new avenues of thinking in the world of technology and communications. I could have …

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Getting Lost in Rabbit Holes

Rabbit Holes

In retrospect, I should have known there was going to be a problem. It seemed like such a simple thing, after all. I just wanted to switch to YAML to define my post front matter. YAML, which stands for YAML Ain’t Markup Language, has a very simple job: it provides a structure for keyed data (or metadata) that is human readable and portable1. Even more importantly, my markdown editor (Typora) has this neat little feature that lets me set up a YAML front matter section right in the post. It is a nice little bonus in what is, already, a gorgeous markdown editor.

The Python Markdown processor that Pelican uses doesn’t require YAML, but I prefer it for cross-compatibility with other platforms and processors (pandoc, Jekyll, etc). Luckily, there was a YAML plugin already designed for Pelican, so I decided to check it out. I won’t deny that I was a bit dubious about the plugin. It has been quite a while since it was updated. Nevertheless, I added it to my config and set it to build.

And crashed.

I expect this from time to time. One of the real joys of working with open …

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Welcome to 2019

Welcome to 2019, my occasional reader. I would do a review of 2018, but—except for a few minor highlights—2018 was not the most auspicious of years for me. I am quite content to leave it in the dustbin of my personal history.

I am far more interested in looking forward. There is a lot coming up this year. Most importantly, I am working to finish a dissertation and with it my doctorate. This is my final semester. When I finish, I will have completed the last step of a path I began almost a decade ago. Truth is, I had no clue where it would take me, and it has been an incredible journey. Scarier still, I have no clue where it will take me next. Where I will be in the fall of 2019 is still a complete mystery. I am looking forward to that next step, though. There is something exciting about the unknown, and the possibilities that lay beyond it.

I wanted to say that the close of this journey will be an easy one. I originally planned it to be. I was going to have a full draft by the end of the year …

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© Geoffrey Gimse. Built using Pelican. Except where noted, all photos are my own. Other images used on this site are in the Public Domain and available from Openclipart, or have been purchased for use via The Noun Project.