soooo shiny.

My MacBook Pro arrived today, so I pretty much didn't get any work done, even if that had been in the cards. I probably wouldn't have gotten much work done anyway, because I had to have a conversation at work about how the two layers of management above my boss have both said, "Hey, Chris was really happy when he started working here, and now he's kind of a cranky jerk. Is he about to quit?" I love those conversations, as you can imagine. It boils down to this: my level of burned-out snarkiness is not appreciated, and with almost everyone in the company, including my team, I have to assume that what I say is actually public rather than private. I find that sad.

I'm reading The Tipping Point, which is quite good and I recommend it along with Blink. One chapter is titled "The Rule of 150", and goes on in some detail to describe the abrupt changes that occur when you have an organizational unit over 150 people. Above that number, it gets impossible to know everyone in the group, and you start having to create rule structures to impose order. Over the centuries, people have run into this limit again and again: it's the largest size of a military company, from Rome to the present day, because it's the largest unit where discipline and cooperation can be enabled through social mechanisms rather than bureaucracy. Hutterite communities have a rule that when they approach 150, they split in half and form a new community: above 150 people, cliques and mini-clans form, which inevitably erodes the fabric of the community as a unit. And the company that makes Gore-Tex keeps all of its plants at 150 people or less: they just keep building new plants. In one location they have 12 plants more or less right next to each other.

So it occurred to me as I read this, that the clannishness, the growth of policies and rule structures, and the inability to know everyone, are all things I've watched as my company has grown, and which I don't like. I'm not leaving this job, but that's good information to remember, to know what I want in future jobs.

I made what seems to be quite tasty pasta sauce. After it was done it occurred to me that (a) I should have drained the chopped tomatoes and made some kind of reduction with the juice to add back later, and (b) even if I hadn't done that, some sugar would have added a dimension of flavor. Lessons to remember for next time.

I went to the dojo again last night. It's so good to remember that aikido is fun--but it's only fun when there's energy flowing through my body, so I don't have to struggle to get up.