Showing posts with label Dumb Questions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dumb Questions. Show all posts

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bum's Rush for TheHackerCIO!

TheHackerCIO got The Bum's Rush from the LACTO Forum, effective today. Some gentle readers may not know what the "bum's rush" is, because today they call them homeless and respect their alternative lifestyle. The bum's rush is when you get "forcefully and abruptly ejected."

It happened Wed, but took effect today, Friday.

I thought the call was to ask me to speak in 2014, but was I ever wrong! It turns out that it was notification that the "invitation-only" forum no longer required my presence.

I was and remain, "persona non grata."

I was excommunicated, so to speak.

But TheHackerCIO has been excommunicated from larger and better groups than this, such as the Universal Body of Christ, for asking the wrong kind of questions, but that's another story for another day.

Interestingly, the grounds given for my abrupt expulsion after years of attendance was the same as the other time. For asking the wrong kind of questions. Or dumb ones. It's not really clear. I was told that "my questions were not thought to be up to the level of the group," which translated into regular English, means "You ask dumb questions."

But TheHackerCIO is thrilled! To be accused of "asking dumb questions," is an honor extraordinaire. First of all, TheHackerCIO follows a principle he learned from his stepfather: the "I'm just a poor sharecroppers son" principle. This principle requires a separate blog-posting to deal with completely, but let's leave it at this: my stepfather, who was quite sophisticated, educated, and charming,  would always say this when he wanted an explanation that reduced complexity to a manageable, normal, everyday, ordinary, man-in-the-street level. Ideas should be explicable, even complex ideas, with sufficient clarity that even a poor, unsophisticated "sharecropper's son" can grasp them. And I am never embarrassed by any question I have asked in seeking this level of clarity. Neither now, nor in the past. Nor in the future.  A desire to understand should NEVER be a source of shame, for anyone.

Best-Selling business writer Patrick Lencioni understands this same principle. In his highly recommended book on consulting ("Getting Naked"), he calls for people to "Ask Dumb Questions" (p: 206-7), and notes this:
Think about the times you've been in a room and had a question that you thought might be too obvious to ask. And then someone else asks it, and you look a them with a sense of gratitude and respect. That's how clients see us, if we have the courage to ask.
Apparently, that's not how the LACTO forum members feel!

Or, possibly, the forum member have an ulterior motive for booting TheHackerCIO out. I'm turning speculative here, but bear with me.  I'm going to ask two questions:

1. How likely is it that an extremely intelligent, perceptive, funny, easy-going, educated specialist in technology for decades would really ask too many low-quality questions?

2. How likely is it that the beliefs of someone strongly opinionated about the need for CTOs to be able to write code would offend a forum of CTOs where this opinion was voiced and shock was registered that he was the only one present who coded daily? Is it likely that such a group would kick him out rather than have him continually blogging and speaking about the need to be a Hacker as well as a CTO? Or maybe even just out of spite toward him for such beliefs?

I'll leave the answer to this as an exercise for the reader.

As an aside, TheHackerCIO's wife, a woman of extraordinary wisdom, warned him about his blog. "You know, you're not going to make any friends by telling people the truth the way you do," she told me. Amusingly, she warned me a few days before the ax fell. But TheHackerCIO decided when he started blogging that he was going to tell his truth, his way regardless of the consequences.

Will TheHackerCIO miss the forum? Yes. It would be "sour grapes" -- a form of dishonesty -- to claim that the sessions won't be missed. But TheHackerCIO doesn't want to associate with technologists who don't code or are OK with it being "5 years since I looked at coding," as one participant said. Or, if they really think my questions are "not up to level," or that simple questions ought not to be asked, or even that they can kick someone out for asking basic questions and not have it poison others against asking basic questions,  then they are complete idiots, and again, I don't want to associate with them. And one session in particular, I always hated, and won't miss, was the quarterly bitch-and-moan Roundtable for everyone about "What keeps you up at night?" I got nothing out of hearing the same old rehash from everyone on a quarterly basis.

But I can tell you what ought to have been keeping them up at night.

They haven't coded in 5 years.

I Remain,