As a thought leader, you don’t need to check behind you to see if anyone is following. But I suppose it helps to have a few followers if you’re trying to convince people that you are one.
A friend of mine started blogging about 6 months ago, around the time he was laid off by a major game development shop. Ostensibly, his blog is about game development and more specifically, his experiences as an independent game developer. However, I always find his posts extremely well-written (English is not his first language) and brimming with insight into the way of things in general. It’s all the more surprising, considering he was born under the Aries sun sign and they tend be about as smart as a box of hammers.
His post today is titled Games industry Booms and Busts, but you can easily ignore the games part and see that it applies to just about anything business thought leaders and coin-operated market analysts identify as a trend and that companies then try to cash in on. Usually, it starts with a couple unexpectedly positive results, which the so-called thought leaders then point to as “the way of the future” and almost as one, companies flock to see the new, shiny thing. Of course, they call it “strategic shift” or some similar crap, but it boils down to a cynical view of the customer. This is the quest for the ever-elusive repeatable success.
In a previous post, my friend observed that the truly great game companies — the ones whose titles captured the imaginations of gamers worldwide, whose enduring legacy was more than a balance sheet — are the ones lead by people who are passionate about games. Not by MBAs who talk bullshit like “value add” and “strategic goal re-alignment”. Now, don’t get me wrong. I got nothing against MBAs. Some of my best friends know people who are MBAs. But I think their value is in their understanding of business entities, how they are organized and how they behave. The problems start when we look to them as prognosticators, as if they understand the market and are therefore best suited to guide the organization to success. On the contrary, the people at the top of the organization need to actually care first and foremost about the product — not the bottom line — and they would care about it whether they were in that job or not. (Hopefully, they’ll have the presence of mind to keep a few of those MBAs around without turning the reins over to them.)
Anyway, if you can get past the fact that his blog is on Tumblr and his theme looks even worse than mine, please go check it out. Time well wasted!