Skip to main content
Manners Maketh Man

From an early age, I was encouraged to believe in good manners, regardless of the environment one finds oneself in. You say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and you remember that being polite costs nothing.

Today that makes me a dinosaur and in this fast-food, Internet society of ours, simple courtesy no longer has a place in on-line business or doesn’t seem to.



I send an email to someone I know and get no reply. I might attend a meeting or an interview and I thank the people involved for their time or enquire about the next step on our relationship. Nothing comes back, just a deafening silence which tells me: “I’m too busy and I’m too important to bother myself with you, go away”.

You see, if you write to me, as people often do, I’ll make every effort to acknowledge your interest, even if it’s only a one-liner, saying ‘Thank you’. Ignoring another person is, in my mind both insulting and arrogant and in the corridors I walk in, people conceal the evidence of inefficiency or incompetence or both, behind a convenient wall of email or voicemail.

If I listed the characters who have displayed bad manners in the last six months, you’d be surprised; as I’m sure the companies involved would be very familiar. Normally, I deal at VP or MD level and because of what I do and who I am; you might expect the simple courtesies. I remember, a couple of years ago, being asked by “the Boss”, if I could invite a select group of IT industry MDs to a meeting at the Cabinet Office. I was amazed at how many couldn’t be bothered to respond to the invitation.

Are good manners dead then or have we simply become a nation or timid procrastinators, hiding behind a technology that relieves us of making decisions, of saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or even ‘Thank you’ unless there’s something in it for us.

Like elephants though, people never forget a good turn or a bad one and as the IT industry continues its spiralling decline, those little acts of common courtesy might one day be the difference between this job and the next.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…