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The Gradin-Kagan Effect

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betajet
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Different experience
betajet   4/1/2014 2:15:51 PM
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I've been lucky enough to work over the years with some very smart, very capable people who were also fun to work with.  In many cases, our skills and interests complemented each other and together we could do far more than either one of us alone.  Having a good partner to work with is often more productive than trying to do it all yourself, especially since you can catch each other's errors earlier and suggest alternative approaches before wasting time going down a path that turns out to be wrong.

However, it's hard to scale beyond two.  Heck, it's hard even to schedule a meeting with more than two.  With three or more, you have a committee and "the patient dies on the operating table while the doctors argue" as one of my teachers used to say.

I close with a wonderful quote from Charles Kettering, who said this upon hearing how wonderful it was that Charles Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic all alone:
"It would have been still more wonderful if he had done it with a committee."

 

 

 

antedeluvian
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Re: Different experience
antedeluvian   4/1/2014 2:43:57 PM
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betajet

I close with a wonderful quote from Charles Kettering, who said this upon hearing how wonderful it was that Charles Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic all alone:
"It would have been still more wonderful if he had done it with a committee."
Love the quote- never a truer word spoken in jest!


jimfordbroadcom
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DMV
jimfordbroadcom   4/2/2014 4:38:17 PM
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Here in California, we have the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which employs the lowest intelligence people on the planet!  I was just telling a colleague today that they must have a test to see if applicants are stupid, and they only hire them if they test stupid.  Here's an example from some years ago: I lived on a street with a Spanish name, Avenida de las Flores, and I spelled it out over the phone for the brain-dead person from the DMV.  I included "space" between the four words of the street name.  The DMV clerk remarked that it was a very long name (should have been my first clue).  When I received my letter from the DMV in the mail, it read "AvenidaSpaceDeSpaceLasSpaceFlores"!  I kid you not!  Silly me, I should have framed the envelope and kept it for the rest of my life!


On the other hand, here where I work we have people working in the cafeteria bussing trays and such who have very low intelligence.  Some may even have Down's syndrome.  But that's OK; the tasks they are assigned get done just fine because they don't require much intelligence.  More power to them.  I think there's just a disconnect between what the jobs require at the DMV (and other places, I'm sure) and the capabilities of the people hired to do them.

josyb
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Re: DMV
josyb   4/3/2014 2:58:32 AM
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@jimfordbroadcom:

DMV: the person at the other side may have been just intelligent enough to 'kid' you :) And he knew the USPS would be smart enough to decode the street name :)

MeasurementBlues
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Gradin's law appied outside engineering
MeasurementBlues   4/7/2014 12:26:30 PM
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I would argue that Gradin's law is even more applicable to groups of people who are not engineers. that 's the "touchy-feely" kind of people who actually take people's reactions into account. When that happens, nothing gets done. The total IQ is exponentially more negative than with engineers. Why? Because with engineers, there is atleast some logic involved.

tom-ii
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Related Insights I've learned
tom-ii   4/14/2014 4:44:49 PM
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Well, 1st of all, there's no such thing as a negative IQ (by definition)...

 

HOWEVER - there can be a negative slope to IQ - especially in a group dynamic.

 

Alcohol is a multiplier to this negative slope - that is, it makes it steeper.

 

Keeping to work situations (sort of), though, I have found these two relationships to hold (relatively) true:

 

1) None of us is a dumb as all of us.

 

2) The IQ of a meeting is the highest IQ in the room, divided by the number of people in the room.

 

3) Unless it's the marketing department, in which case it may be the Fibinacci number of the people in the room...

betajet
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Re: Related Insights I've learned
betajet   4/14/2014 7:42:08 PM
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Tom wrote: Well, first of all, there's no such thing as a negative IQ (by definition)...

Two things spring to mind related to this.  I don't have the source for either one:

1.  It's hard to make things idiot-proof, because idiots are so inventive.

2.  From a poor evaluation: "He has reached rock bottom and is showing signs of starting to dig."

tom-ii
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Re: Related Insights I've learned
tom-ii   4/14/2014 8:01:09 PM
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I prefer double-entende'd reviews:

 

He's out standing in his field!

You wouldn't believe the work he did!

 

etc...

antedeluvian
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Another example
antedeluvian   4/18/2014 9:49:43 AM
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Yesterday I got asked by a customer if a fuse was rated at 240V, 2A, would it change the ratings to 4A at 120V.

antedeluvian
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Re: Another example
antedeluvian   4/18/2014 10:17:47 AM
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Also reminds me of a specification for a power supply that I was reviewing for the aeros[pace industry. It specified that voltage to be V volts and a current to be I amps and a power output of P watts. And P bore no resemblance to V*I

Duane Benson
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Re: Another example
Duane Benson   4/18/2014 12:19:24 PM
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"specified that voltage to be V volts and a current to be I amps and a power output of P watts. And P bore no resemblance to V*I"

No that is incredibly funny (for those of us not on the receiving end)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Another example
Max The Magnificent   4/18/2014 11:20:56 AM
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@Antedeluvian: Yesterday I got asked by a customer if a fuse was rated at 240V, 2A, would it change the ratings to 4A at 120V.

I had a sort of related "brain fart" the other day when I was calculating the power for a bunch of LEDs for a display -- when I added in the other stuff it all came to about 20A and I had a moment of panic thinking: "But my household sockets are only rated for 15A"

Then I came to my senses and realized that that's 15A at 120V -- while I needed 20A at 5V -- maybe I'm getting old (although I prefer to think of it as "maturing like a fine cheese" :-)

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