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The Decline and Fall of the Idealistic Spark

Oct 21, 2009, 12:34 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Esther Schindler)

"Once upon a time, there was a man who had an innovative idea. He had a vision, and followed up with an answer could solve a set of real world problems. Fortunately, he also found a way to communicate the solution to other people. Others got involved, either because they bought into the idealistic plans ("With this idea, we can change the world, and make it a better place!") or because they saw pragmatic opportunities ("I can make a living by selling this stuff"). People worked together; not always smoothly, but with a shared common goal. A small team grew into a larger one, and then an even larger one, and eventually into a huge organization impacting millions, maybe billions of dollars.

"But as the organization grew, the spark of creativity sputtered. What was once fun became business-as-usual. What was business-as-usual became cut-throat. The original visionary began to believe the press releases of his marketing department and forgot others's contributions; at a minimum, he became distant from the needs of the "real people" whom he'd once sincerely wanted to serve. Many years later, insiders (if not outsiders) saw the rot at the core: an organization driven by political power, run by people whose ethics were questionable-at-best, generating shoddy "solutions" that were far more polished than the initial offerings but also far less satsifying. Today, many people are comfortable in describing the organization as evil; yet the individuals I've encountered who work for the organization are just as convinced that their answer is Right as they ever were, and some of them are brilliant people who never lost the idealistic belief that they're making the world a better place."

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