I copied this off the WWW somewhere, damn if I can remember where. It's

the abstract of a paper by a guy named Erik Bloodaxe or something like

that, a professor at an Eastern Elite University(tm). The paper deals with

what is called the Productivity Paradox.

 

"The quandary of information technology (IT) is that, despite astonishing

improvements in the underlying capabilities of the computer, its

productivity has proven almost impossible to assess. There is an

increasing perception that IT has not lived up to its promise, fueled in

part by the fact that the existing empirical literature on IT productivity

generally has not identified significant productivity improvements.

 

However, a careful review, whether at the level of the economy as a whole,

among information workers, or in specific manufacturing and service

industries, indicates that the evidence must still be considered

inconclusive. It is premature to surmise that computers have been a

paradoxically unwise investment."

 

I work for the CON, right in the belly of the beast--I work for the

GOVERNMENT. Where I work is a fairly small operation by corporate

standards. Over the past eight or ten years, personal computers have

appeared here and there on various desktops. Viola! The productivity

paradox has reared its head. More and more computers sold to management

as productivity increasers, but no apparent increase in productivity. And

the reason is -- the SubGenius(tm).

 

A computer turns up on a SubG's desk, and what's his first instinct? Well,

yeah, okay, AFTER he gets his wang out of the floppy drive, what does he

want to do with that computer? He wants to PLAY with it, that's what. Now

any SubG who works for the CON, especially GOVCON, has long since figured

out how get a week's worth of work done in about three hours of miserable

haze on Monday morning, so as to have the rest of the week free to seek

Slack. He got his work done on Monday, this is Thursday, drank as much

coffee as he can stand, still too early to take off, gotta do something.

 

All the Pinks are SCARED of this techno-box, afraid they're gonna break

it--but the SubG WANTS to bust it. It's just a Slack-sucking piece of

crap. Or maybe if it doesn't bust too easily, he can get some FUN out of

it. Well, looky here. Push the buttons, get some MAGIC PICTURES. Push

some MORE buttons, see what happens. All right! MORE MAGIC PICTURES!

The result is that the SubG becomes the guy in the office who actually

knows how to use the computer. Now he gets his week's work done in about

25 minutes, but he sure as hell isnšt going to let management know that.

Their reaction would be to give him more work. He just wants to finish up

that stupid CONCRAP so he can get back to playing with the box, or

otherwise seeking Slack.

 

The Pinks are always whining at him, "Oh, could you show me how to do

so-and-so? You know so much about computers." The Pinks just want to

leave a saucer of milk in front of the CPU and burn some incense, avoid

knowing what goes on in there, hope something gets done, but the SubG has

been INSIDE the temple.

 

Hešs been DRINKING BEER and shooting craps with the daemons. They OWE HIM

MONEY! "You sorry OS! Get your lazy virtual butt out there and format that

floppy! LIFT dat spreadsheet, TOTE dat database! Haw, haw!" *Belch*

If management really screws up and gets an Internet connection, of course

it's one more thing for the SubG to play with. And, since everybody in

the office agrees that he's the guy who knows so much about computers,

management BELIEVES him when he says, "Well, I think a Usenet feed could

really do a lot for productivity around here." Nobody else has a CLUE

what Usenet is, especially not management dorks.

 

Now the CON is always watching SubGenii, got those uncooperative attitudes

and rotten mouths on them, but as much as they want to, lower-level

management is AFRAID to get rid of them. "I'd love to fire that

loudmouth, but if I did, I'd either have to do all that work hešs been

doing myself, or get somebody else to do it, and nobody else knows how. I

sure would like to know why he's always sitting in his cubicle laughing

his ass off, though."

 

Then Big Management comes down and says find somebody to design a Web page.

Little Management craps his pants; he doesn't know JACK about W^3. The SubG

brings in the Web page he downloaded at home three weeks ago from an HTML

demo site, updates some http links and tells Big Management he thinks he

can get a page up and running in a couple of weeks if Little Management

will stay the hell out of his cubicle. Little Management goes away, another

perforation in his ulcer, and the SubG has just gained three weeks of

Slack.

 

"I think it would be very helpful if I could have an ISDN line in here to

prototype this Web page." ALL RIGHT! Three straight weeks of posting to

alt.slack and downloading alt.binaries.pictures at 56 kilobaud. I wonder

if I can get an SGI Indy?

 

Professor Bloodaxe says, "A puzzle remains in the inability of both

academics and managers to document unambiguously the performance effects

of information technology (IT). Four possible explanations are reviewed in

turn: mismeasurement, lags, redistribution and mismanagement. The paper

concludes with recommendations for investigating each of these

explanations using traditional methodologies, while also proposing

alternative, broader metrics of welfare that ultimately may be required to

assess, and enhance, the benefits of IT."

 

This may be some kind of head-scratcher to "academics and managers" but not

to the SubGenius. HE's the reason for their "inability to document." And

SubGenii donšt even have to be warned not to reveal this "secret." IT

WOULDNšT MATTER.

 

Try it. Print out this post and show it to some management Pink. THEY

CANšT SEE IT. That's right. They aren't able to read whatšs printed on the

paper. Oh, the Pinks will know there are some kind of marks on the paper,

and will know in a general way they mean trouble, but the Pinks are

constitutionally unable to understand the logic of the explanation of the

Productivity Paradox. "Yes, yes, that Internet stuff is very amusing, I'm

sure. Is the staff meeting rescheduled to the big conference room? Why

wasn't I notified?"

--

Jim the Prophet

Licensed SubGenius Preacher

jimvan@gate.net