But our lemmings can fly!

I recently bought (via eBay) a copy of The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker. All the cartoons are on two CD (as PDF) and selected cartoons are in a very big heavy book. I copied them off the CDs and I’ve been paging thru them. They are a fascinating historical document. For example there is a period in the late 50s of cartoons about the rest of the world hating us that could be recycled today.

I can’t, of course, show you any of these – but they are great fun for visual thinking.

There is a cartoon who’s caption reads “What the Lemmings think.” and it shows the river of lemmings pouring off the cliff, into flight, and up into the heavens. I was reminded of that by the Robert X. Cringely essay today that reports that there is 20+ billion dollars of VC money that just has to be invested in the next 12 months, but the poor lemmings haven’t found a cliff yet. He, tongue firmly in cheek, recommends cell-processors.

Since the week demands it he also has a few choice words about HP’s troubles.

Knowing she was not what she was claiming to be, Carly’s management technique was to be charming and brutal, to throw HP through a succession of mergers and reorgs that kept any potential adversary from gaining a power base. Note that this week, there simply is no clear internal successor as CEO, nor is the company even thinking of looking inside because any talent there was run off long ago.

The big problem with running a company this way is that it always ends badly

That sounds about right. HP’s course changes have seemed pretty clueless over the last few years and I’ve certainly seen that pattern more than once in my life. Trouble is, the behavior management exhibits in that scenario is almost identical to the behavior when the firm has severe group-think, it’s business model is dried up, and a huge course correction is it’s only hope. At that point management is more like a convivial but suddenly desperate animal and that just looks like a convivial but basically clueless act.

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