Snails, Systems and Slack

Snails, Systems and Slack

Paul Quigley CEO of Newswhip wrote a lovely blogpost about the great Snail Derby of 1998. Faced with the problem of getting the Snails to race in the same direction, an innovative 6yo came up with Snail Trails.  Snail trails. Snail trails are not a product you can buy. Snail trails are a streak of water, placed in front of a snail using one’s fingertip. You see, snails prefer pushing themselves over wet surfaces than dry surfaces. My girlfriend observed that a simple streak of wetness leading directly from the snail’s current position to the finish line kept them on the straight and narrow, so to speak. Snail trails saved the day, and the snail derby of 1988 was a roaring success. Paul goes on to describe how you create snail trails for customer acquisition for SaaS businesses. There is a broader lesson for businesses in the use of technology.  Demming said that “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”  A snail trail is a better system. It’s a very clever use of lightweight technology to reduce friction in a process.  Good systems do that. They reduce organisational friction.  They drive better organisational conversations.   And the value of reducing friction in processes and conversations is very very large. One company that is building organisational snail trails is Slack.  I’m a very big fan of Slack. The value of what it’s is doing is rumoured to be up to $2 Billion. Double what it was worth 12 months ago. That’s part of the value that Slack is capturing. And it reflects a small portion of value that it is creating by building better Snail Trails. /Dermot...

Less a conscience provision than bigotry derived from religious principles

The Catholic Church would like to insert a conscience provision around the forthcoming equal marriage legislation. Not one that has an opt out for priests. That already exists.  But they’re looking for one for lay Christians. Asking “does he not have freedom of conscience. Is his conscience different to mine as a priest”. At one level it sounds almost reasonable. What’s not to like about having freedom of conscience? In the end though religious based bigotry is still bigotry. Its also a power play. If you are member of a religious group and members of religious groups have an opt out from providing certain services there will be an attempt by the church to ensure that none of its members provide those services. More fundamentally its freedom for bigotry. As with many good arguments when I Googled a few specific phrases, a well written version of what I wanted to say presents itself  on Crooked Timber Bigotry derived from religious principles is still bigotry. Whether the people who implemented Bob Jones University’s notorious ban on inter-racial dating considered themselves to be actively biased against black people, or simply enforcing what they understood to be Biblical rules against miscegenation is an interesting theoretical question. You can perhaps make a good argument that bigotry-rooted-in-direct-bias is more obnoxious than bigotry-rooted-in-adherence-to-perceived-religious-and-social-mandates. Maybe the people enforcing the rules sincerely believed that they loved black people. It’s perfectly possible that some of their best friends were black. But it seems pretty hard to make a good case that the latter form of discrimination is not a form of bigotry. And if Friedersdorf wants to defend his sincerely-religiously-against-gay-marriage...