In 2000, EDS, a major information technology and business firm took the term “cat herding” and ran with it for this fantastic super bowl commercial, but what does cat herding mean?

The term is used to draw a parallel between cats, who are inherently independent and difficult to control, and IT workers, who are inherently independent and difficult to control. Anyone with a cat of their own probably has a good idea what I’m talking about. In a more broad sense, herding cats refers to getting different people or groups to coordinate on a goal.

Carla Emmons sums it up nicely:

Herding cats implies the futility inherent in a position as an IT manager.

In a modern IT shop it is quite literally impossible for a manager to know everything about their employees’ jobs and I believe that is the main cause of this precieved futility. To try to understand and control everything your employees are doing is just as bound to fail as trying to get your cat to come when you call its name. The good IT managers know it, the best ones embrace it.

So what is an IT manager to do? I think effective cat herding boils down to just these three things…

  1. Hire good people
  2. Get them the resources they need to do their jobs
  3. Protect them from the politics and metawork as much as possible

Remember, cat herding (IT management) isn’t about your own goals or job fulfillment, it’s about allowing your employees to reach their full potential.

funny, comercial, super bowl, it, it management, project management, buzzword, office lingo, language, definition

It’s hard to believe Mother Teresa didn’t have tech work in mind when she coined this wholly applicable quote.

We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

Thanks to Jon Graton for getting this stuck in my head quite a while ago.

it, information technology, quotes

Urban Dictionary offers the following definition for the word ‘metawork’:

Trivial or unnecessary work done to avoid having to perform the real task at hand while simultaneously taking the credit for it.

In the business world, metawork often manifests itself in the form of meetings, mission statements, project planning, or anything else that lets a person become part of the team without actually doing something productive.

I use metawork in a similar sense to refer to work which, though necessary, does not directly result in progress toward project goals. Meetings, project charters, evaluations and timecards all fall into the category of metawork.

Most middle management spends the bulk of their time doing metawork. Ideally this minimizes the amount of metawork their employees must do maximizing the amount of time employees can spend on actual work.

work, office humor, buzzwords, office lingo, definitions

Just when I thought I had enough reasons to hate the entertainment industry they come up with an idea like this.

From a recent Reuters article on Boston.com:

A breakthrough in television advertising debuted without fanfare last spring as a brand-name box of crackers appeared on the CBS sitcom ”Yes, Dear” for about 20 seconds, seen but hardly noticed by millions of viewers.

Unbeknownst to them, the image of Kellogg’s Club Crackers had been digitally painted onto the top of a coffee table after the scene was filmed, launching the latest advance in a marketing practice known in the industry as product placement but derided by critics as ”stealth advertising.”

This is worse than the advertisements which now seem to frequent the bottom third of the screen as you’re trying to watch your favorite program. At least when Shrek started popping his ugly head into the frame you knew you were seeing an advertisement!

Now when you see a box of crackers, pop-tarts, a box of trojans, a bottle of Coke, or a BMW in a series you’ll never know if it was put there by a careful writer, a skilled set dresser, or just a network advertising department who has no interest in the artistic integrity of the show.

Now I’m not naive enough to think the entertainment industry hasn’t been taking payoffs for putting brand name products in their shows, but at least it was part of the original composition, not an afterthought. There can be some give-and-take between the advertisers and the writers and, while advertising is inevitable, at least there are some checks.

So where does this end? Well, my bitching probably won’t get them to stop placing ads in more and more programming, so I’d like to offer this suggestion for the future of “stealth advertising.”

Advertising in the news. That’s right, the news. Try these on for size…

Would George W. like a cracker? (or should that be “Is George W. like a cracker?”)

bush.jpg

How about some great moments in history? Everyone needs crackers…

There were crackers on the moon right?

moon.jpg

What’s a war without crackers?

iwojima.jpg

You can go great places with crackers!

hitler.jpg

And my personal favorite.

911.jpg

Tasteless? Well, yes, but since we’ve already turned anything artistic into a commercial, what’s left? Just the news.


advertising, internet advertising, humor, funny, stealth advertising, george w. bush, bush, news, entertainment

Chegg
n.
A situation where there are two things, each of which are dependant upon the other in order to exist, thus causing the paradoxical question of which came (or must come) first. Derived from the question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Example: You need experience to get a job; however you need a job to get experience.

Origin: Jon Graton, Plymouth State University; Plymouth, NH

office lingo, buzzword, buzzwords, language, definitions

« Previous PageNext Page »