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June 2006

James Lileks reviews the Democratic Party's "New Direction for America":

"Ensure Dignified Retirement." Again, sounds great. Mandatory fedoras for men; a 50 percent reduction in Viagra commercials. But no: The Democrats wish to "prevent the privatization of Social Security," because you cannot be trusted with your own money. It's an interesting definition of dignity: waiting by the mailbox for your government check.


Spolsky on why Microsoft once dominated

Joel Spolsky tells a lovely little story and explains why, rather than being Evil, Microsoft was once so successful:

Bill Gates was amazingly technical. He understood Variants, and COM objects, and IDispatch and why Automation is different than vtables and why this might lead to dual interfaces. He worried about date functions. He didn't meddle in software if he trusted the people who were working on it, but you couldn't bullshit him for a minute because he was a programmer. A real, actual, programmer.

Watching non-programmers trying to run software companies is like watching someone who doesn't know how to surf trying to surf.

"It's ok! I have great advisors standing on the shore telling me what to do!" they say, and then fall off the board, again and again. The standard cry of the MBA who believes that management is a generic function. Is Ballmer going to be another John Sculley, who nearly drove Apple into extinction because the board of directors thought that selling Pepsi was good preparation for running a computer company? The cult of the MBA likes to believe that you can run organizations that do things that you don't understand.