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  • daviding 10:36 am on July 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: career, history, , nick donofrio   

    2011 interviews of Nick Donofrio on his career at IBM 

    (Ex-)IBMers who ever encountered Nick Donofrio @NMJD in his 44-year career at IBM may appreciate memoirs in two interviews. The first starts with his childhood, through to 1964 when he first started working with IBM.

    Grant Lussier: So you basically joined IBM roughly at the halfway point of the history of the company, right?

    Nick Donofrio: Pretty much. That’s right. I like to say that. I use this famous chart by Ray Kurzweil. I should get it for you.

    Kurzweil 1999, Moravec 1998

    Nick Donofrio: The reason I use it is because it has my life on this chart. So he (Kurzweil) plots a hundred years of technology advancement. He is not plotting it for IBM’s benefit. I am using it to describe the life in IBM. It’s a very interesting chart. Semi logarithmic. So what he plots is the amount of computational capability you can get for a fixed amount of money in a fixed amount of time. And it turns out the curve is a hugely super-semi logarithmic chart super exponential. In a hundred years it rises 16 orders of magnitude.

    And what I like to point out to people is I started at the point of vacuum tubes, which is about right in the middle of the chart. (Nick points to the Kurzweil chart in his hand that he pulled out of his brief case) It’s about a hundred years and I joined right there. I came out of RPI with vacuum tube skills. I actually designed circuits with vacuum tubes, right? Only to find out that is not where we are. “We are trying to move to the transistors, Nick.” And then nobody knows this, but then we are going to do all of this along the way. So I quickly re-schooled myself, re-skilled myself. This is how I get to Syracuse. I get my Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse. I got my degree because IBM had a programme with Syracuse. [p. 10]

    Grant Lussier | “The Nick Donofrio Story: Part 1, The Formative Years” | 2013 at .

    The second part describes the career at IBM, through a series of management positions.  In 1971, Donofrio was assigned a management position in Burlington, Vermont.  He learned from the 360-degree review.

    Leadership 101
    My initiation into leadership occurred in the “old IBM,” when the hierarchical structure was firmly entrenched. It was pretty rugged. I was in Burlington, overseeing about ten circuit designers in my department. I was really close with them. The supervisory assessment process at the time was a survey taken of the people reporting to you, and the reports of the managers ranked best and worst were sent to the leaders at corporate. The rankings were 1 to 5, with 5 at the top. I got my opinion survey back; I was flabbergasted by how bad it was. I was terrible. I didn’t get a 1, but like 1.4. I was crushed, and I thought, “I’ll be jobless. I’ll be the worst on site.” It was a very humbling experience, but it taught me some important lessons. One: that just because I “knew everything,” that didn’t mean that I was a good leader. I needed to let people do their jobs. Two: I was going to have to learn how to ask for help. Without the assistance of my staff to steer me in the right direction, I was a goner.

    More broadly, I think this event taught me that change is important. You have to be willing to evolve and to be okay with not having every answer.  [p. 7]

    At age 42, he was the corporate director of development at the IBM headquarters in Purchase, NY.

    Nick Donofrio: [Around 1987] IBM hit the wall essentially because it was not paying attention to what its clients wanted. It was making better and better things every year, but they were not the things that people wanted to buy. They were ranked the number one company in the world in the ’80s, so they were everybody’s envy. It was a slow and gradual degradation. In a few years, it started to fall off the backside. [p. 5]

    In 1995, Lou Gerstner asked Donofrio to lead server group (i.e. over 100,000 employees across RS/6000, S/390, AS/400 and PC servers). The marketplace was competitive, but the approach was different.

    Grant Lussier: So, you are saying the market is large enough for the server business worldwide to have multiple players?

    Nick Donofrio: Right. It was then for sure. In order to successfully grow, we often forged partnerships and relationships with the very folks we competed with day in and day out. Alliances, industry organizations, standards, all these and more become part of the daily routine. The only way for anyone to survive and thrive was to find partners. Cooperation and competition quickly turned into ‘coopetition’. If you build a large enough ecosystem, it turns out they really do come! The only way for anyone to survive is by finding a partner to deal with…it’s a different direction from the way we had functioned previously.. And that’s become the mantra moving forward.

    In hindsight, he reflects on his career.

    Grant Lussier: What do you think that you’ll be remembered for?

    Nick Donofrio: When I look back at my career, seems like I was smart enough to take what I learned at RPI and continually reapply it in a time of very high transition and change! And that is how I made my- self; that is how I made my name. Rather than be the guy with the first idea, I was the guy with the last idea. I learned that there was nothing wrong with not being first, or not being in the lead. As an engineer, I’m a problem solver at heart. That is what I did for a living; solved problems!

    When it comes to getting along in the world, there’s nothing wrong with being a good, hard-working person, with caring a lot about people and trying to do the right things. So because I kept those ideas in mind, I always felt comfortable with myself. I never had to be something I wasn’t. And as a result I was never afraid of change. I actually thrived on it! I hope the legacy I left behind is the sense that you can not change fast enough given how fast the world is changing around you.

    Grant Lussier: So you would say that being good is more important than being great?

    Nick Donofrio: Yes. And I think good people should always win. Even though they often don’t, even though life isn’t kind or fair, that doesn’t mean that someone should become bad or compromise them self to get forward in the world. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been asked, “Why are you always willing to listen to people, and to reach out to people?” I guess that is just the way I was raised. I enjoy giving back and helping people and realizing that there are so many people so much brighter than me in the world who could do so much more with just a little help.

    Along the way, I also came to believe each one of us is the ultimate creator of our situation. You get either what you want or you get what you deserve. But whatever you have in the end, it is yours. You have no one to blame, or to credit, but yourself. That is the truth as I see it. In the end, for peo- ple like you and me who’ve been at liberty to exercise our wills in life, it is a pretty sobering philosophy. If it didn’t work out well for you, it didn’t work out well for you because you decided that it didn’t work out well for you. If you didn’t really want it that way, you would have kept working to get something different. But you decided you were going to set- tle, right? Or you decided that you were powerless, right? There are only a handful of ways, if I remember correctly, to resolve conflict—you either fight, you flee, or you change. This stuck with me, as IBM developed me into a better and better leader and manager. [pp. 10-11]

    Grant Lussier | “The Nick Donofrio Story: Part 2, The IBM Years” | 2013 at .

    Nick Donofrio is IBM Fellow Emeritus, retired as IBM Executive VP Innovation & Technology in October 2008. He says he’s not retired, just graduated from IBM, in this speech in 2013.

    “21st Century Innovation / Technology” | Nick Donofrio | November 14, 2013 | Bentley College at

  • daviding 5:13 pm on May 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , externalities, import replacement, jane jacobs, nature of economies   

    Post-2008 articles on Jane Jacob’s ideas in economics 

    2010 book celebrating Jane Jacobs includes articles on economics (and systems thinking), some also available in alternative online form.  Preceded by a 1977 article:

    David M. Nowlan, “Jane Jacobs Among the Economists”,  Ideas That Matter: The Worlds of Jane Jacobs, The Ginger Press, 1997, pp. 111-113, manuscript at

    It is possible to be quite precise about the first significant notice of Jane’s work within the economics literature. It occurred in 1988, in an important paper by a well known University of Chicago economist, Robert Lucas. [….]

    In the Lucas model human capital has two features of special importance. The first is that, with effort, it can be acquired without limit and it doesn’t take more effort to acquire it when you have more of it. The second is that higher average levels of human capital in an economy raise the level of productivity of everybody in that economy, not just the productivity of those whose human-capital level is higher.

    The first feature allows economies to grow without slowing as they become richer, a possibility that the neoclassical model denied. The second feature introduces what’s called an “externality” into the model, and it is in this regard that Lucas found Jane Jacobs’ books to be particularly stimulating.

    Ideas That Matter:  The World of Jane Jacobs

    Susan Witt, “The Grace of Import Replacement”, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, New Village Press 2010 also available at

    … the wealth of one region would not depend on exploiting the natural and human wealth of other regions.

    Jacobs believed that the best way to achieve such sustainable economies is to examine what is now imported into a region and develop the conditions to produce those goods from local resources with local labor. She referred to this process as “import replacing.”

    By contrast, the typical economic development model is for a city to use tax credits and other incentives to lure the branch of a multi-national corporation into its environs. Yet without deep roots in the local economy and local community, the same corporation might suddenly leave the area, driven by moody fluctuations in the global economy, and abandon workers and families.

    What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs

    Pierre Desrochers and Samuli Leppälä, 2010. “Rethinking ‘Jacobs Spillovers,’ or How Diverse Cities Actually Make Individuals more Creative and Economically Successful.” In Stephen A. Goldsmith and Lynne Elizabeth (eds), What We See. Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, New Village Press, pp. 287-296, index at

    … is associated with …

    Pierre Desrochers and Samuli Leppälä. “Opening up the ‘Jacobs Spillovers’ black box: local diversity, creativity and the processes underlying new combinations.” Journal of Economic Geography 11, no. 5 (2011): 843-863.  DOI:10.1093/jeg/lbq028

    … which both point to research into a comparison of the MAR (Marshall – Arrow – Romer) model vs. the Jacobs model…

    Catherine Beaudry and Andrea Schiffauerova. “Who’s right, Marshall or Jacobs? The localization versus urbanization debate.” Research Policy 38, no. 2 (2009): 318-337, searchable at .

    The reviewed empirical work has provided substantial academic support for the positive impact of both MAR (specialization) and Jacobs (diversity) externalities on regional performance. In addition, a non-negligible number of negative MAR effects imply that specialization of a region may also hinder economic growth. Diversification in contrast is much less likely to produce this negative impact. We have investigated whether the fact that the results of these studies are often conflicting could be explained by differences in the strength of agglomeration forces across industries, countries or time periods, but also by methodological issues and the various indicators of MAR and Jacobs externalities used in the research. Our analysis of the evidence presented in the paper strongly hints at measurement (level of aggregation of both industrial and geographical classifications) and to some extent at methodological (MAR and Jacobs indicators) issues as the main causes for the divergence observed in the literature and to the fact that the debate regarding MAR or Jacobs externalities remains unresolved.

    (Borrowed the book from the Toronto Public Library!)

  • daviding 6:11 pm on March 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jim coplien, ,   

    2015/03/07 11:00 Jim Coplien, “A Challenge to the Japanese Pattern Language Community”, AsianPLoP 2015 

    Jim Coplien (Cope), Gertrud & Cope, and the Scrum Foundation.

    Keynote presentation at the 4th Asian Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, Waseda University, Tokyo

    This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the web by David Ing.

    Presentation with participants seated in a circle

    Jim Coplien, AsianPLoP 2015

    Jim Coplien was at first Asian PLoP conference in Okinawa in 2001

    At 2009, was at a conference about Christopher Alexander, talked about Scrum movement

    • Started movement to introduce Scrum movement to Japanese

    A little ashamed for coming here for just one hour

    • That’s not a PLoP
    • A PLoP is a family
    • Commitment to the event, or 3 or 4 decades
    • Grateful to be invited

    An introduction to an introduction to a talk that isn’t a PLoP

    • Will be using Powerpoints, there isn’t Powerpoints at a PLoP

    Today, explore what a PLoP is, starting from a mountaintop in Colorado at the beginning

    • Talk about patterns in Japanese culture
    • Talk about some PLoPs that have have involved with:  ScrumPLoP
    • Where are we going as a community

    Have participants done the rain storm game?  Yes

    • Parachute game?  (Not here)

    Pattern community is over 20 years old, want to wind back 20 years for a vision

    • Had worked with Christopher Alexander, who is concerned about our community
    • The concern is that the pattern community doesn’t have outreach
    • We’re a wonderful community in ourselves, but we’re incestuous
    • It’s dangerous, in becoming a culture internally-focused
    • We’re trading amongst ourselves
    • Have kind of become a club
    • Does have the advantage of being a nurturing community

    The goal is to have a vision

    • Patterns are about healing the world
    • People were excited about dream building
    • If we were green activists, we would have passion not as a club, but would protest against dead architecture, dead social practices

    We get to travel here to beautiful Japan (or beautiful Allerton)

    Back to Christopher Alexander:  what is a pattern?

    • What does it have to do with what we do here?

    The whole

    • The dao that can be named is not the dao
    • Patterns are not not about writing
    • What do you do about forces?  You feel them, not shallowly, but in who you are, and how you are connected to the universe
    • Then use writing as the gate through which we pass on the way to enlightment, says Alexander
    • Patterns aren’t the end, they’re on the path

    Wholeness has to do with geology, with space

    • Some properties of geometry
    • Space
    • Echoes in a face, wrinkles
    • City-country thinkers, deep interlocking
    • Alexander says to use more and more of these, and as it becomes more tightly coupled, there’s the potential for creating this great sense of wholeness or peace
    • Want to create more and more of these configurations in the world
    • To Alexander, this is literal

    It’s about our identity

    Alexander says that people come together in the community to find these patterns within themselves

    • In Japanese culture, we learn this, year after year after year

    In industry and academia, we have been taught to predict these things

    • Industry, academia, technology, is the evil world system
    • Academia is definitely in the bad world system

    Are patterns objective?  What does objective mean?

    • Objective means a property of the object
    • Alexander says beauty is an object
    • So, how to measure beauty?  It’s not something from applying makeup, it’s in the essence itself

    Academia is formal, and distances itself

    • We need to consider the objective by itself, outside of people
    • Alexander says the objective is in the people
    • There’s an “ahh”, sense of wonder
    • It’s obvious, how we see it
    • From our upbringing, we can’t see it

    Came to Japan 15 years ago to work with Nakano

    [Nakano just arrived, sits close enough to Cope to hit him]

    A chair is alive, in the sense that we are alive, there’s not much life in this chair or in this room

    • On the train, looking at the trees, they’re alive in their geometry and configuration
    • They’re an architecture that makes a Meiji shrine alive beyond the tree
    • In patterns, looking for a notion of alive

    Start from the larger world

    • Come together in a community, so those who have forgotten the pattern can remember them

    Some patterns are written like IEEE papers

    Alexander says that a pattern is something I can draw

    • A process is needed to create a pattern than comes into existence

    If Alexander came in to this room, he wouldn’t look at the paper

    • He would look at ceiling heights, door entries
    • This room is pretty dead

    A pattern is something that you should be able to tell your mother-in-law (or a Martian)

    This is what we were looking for at the hilltop in Colorado [when the pattern language movement started with the Hillside Group]

    • The architect from Carnegie Mellon, Mary Shaw was there
    • Doug Schmidt was there
    • 50 people, no idea of what we do
    • Richard Gabriel said we should come together, and see what happens

    Came together to look at Alexander’s vision

    • Originally 7 people
    • Then Richard Gabriel joined us, and someone else, became 9
    • George Platts brought with the games
    • Also look at PLoP today
    • Also look at ScrumPLoP

    ScrumPLoP started 7 years ago, formally 5 years ago

    August 15, 1993:  Here are the 5 P’s of pattern

    • 1. People:  has survived
    • 2. Programs, from Ward Cunningham, not programming — programs are the things we build; since then we do more than software
    • 3. Pictures:  Alexander says need pictures, big on geometry.  Not an algorithm, a procedure, a way of building
    • 4. Process:  The dual of geometry
    • 5. Patterns:  The recurring in culture that we see over and over again, e.g. parenting is different in Japan as compared to India, etc; but there are commonalities in the pattern in deep interlock, e.g. does the mother play father, and the father play mother, sometimes alternating making meals

    [Cope referred to tables projected as 2 slides in Powerpoint.  The content is reproduced below, with the talk added in bullet points.  Read left to right, then down]

    Alexander Ben Lomond Hillside Scrum PLoP Other PLoPs
    The first thing in APL is a sequence

    • APL [A Pattern Language] starts with universe, world, shows how to apply the pattern in sequence
    • The way to build pattern language is to collect thousands of sequences, and factor that into a generative pattern
    • Don’t write patterns; write generative pattern languages by looking at whole sequences
    • A pattern doesn’t make sense outside of its context
    • When a pattern forms a grammar (as in English), there’s a well defined ordering of words that will generate a system
    • A pattern alone doesn’t mean anything
    • e.g. fire is a pattern, no context, doesn’t mean anything

    • We knew this when we came together, but didn’t know what to do about it
    Sequences are explicit

    • When Jeff Sutherland created the first pattern, had the sequence
    • The pattern can grow the whole, or refine the whole
    • The refinement is always local, small, because want to be able to erase the ugly and try again
    Almost no sequences

    • How many sequences have been published this year at PLoP?  None?
    Languages Generate Sequences “Anything short of a language is a dead end”.  Languages come after patterns.

    • John Vlissides said anything short of a pattern language is a dead end
    • John actually didn’t write a pattern language in the Design Patterns book, but understood this
    Co-Development of the Language in the PLoP

    • Write lots of patlets, then try to put them together
    Hardly any languages.  Those that succeed evolve outside of PLoP.

    • A pattern language is always evolving
    • How many have AsianPLoP created, and then discarded?
    • In ScrumPLoP have created and published 60 patterns
    • In AsianPLoP, probably haven’t created 60 patterns yet
    • POSA is kind of a pattern language
    • Organizational patterns were a book
    • None of these works were developed in a PLoP, as the PLoP has become a club
    • In 20 years, can count the number of pattern languages that come out of PLoP on two hands
    Piecemeal growth + local adaptation Piecemeal Growth Focus on Adaptation (e.g. going outside SW)

    • Go outside of software
    • Alexander believes in collective consciousness, a Buddhist feel of things
    • First met Alexander, when invited into community, spoke at OOPSLA
    • When read Timeless Way of Building, it uses the same language as Tao De Ching; Alexander said it’s obvious
    Out of scope?

    • Japan is at the roots of this, or at least the parents where
    Geometry:  the importance of driving into the unconscious Not really Value stream, organizational geometry

    • Concern
    Vary rare

    • Alexander’s regret:  at U. of Oregon, they insisted he operate a command-and-control leader
    Our primary concern.  The origin of Wikis

    • WikiWikiWeb was invented to support patterns, to build an online community
    Community works together on patterns

    • Community contributes to Scrum
    • Jeff Sutherland is now using Scrum patterns in his training of 10,000s of people
    • There’s a company here in Japan using Scrum patterns, don’t know Christopher Alexander or patterns
    Vibrant internal community, — no outreach.

    • Haven’t seen outreach
    Body of literature

    • The goal
    Our focus Vision from the Beginning Anthology only
    Long term refinement Not really Sometimes 4 years to publication, web-based
    Started with org patterns –> Scrum
    Usually one-time publication after weeks of work
    Quality bar:  Rejected many patterns (no ….) The vision was right Have rejected 60-100 patterns

    • Rejected more than have published
    Lowering the standards to support attendance

    • Why did Cope stop attending PLoPs?
    • Program chair wanted a big confernce
    Compromise:  BATTLE, no; Oregon, yes

    • Alexander didn’t compromise with the Eishin school in The Battle for Life and Beauty on the Earth; he did compromise in The Oregon Experiment.
    Distance ourselves from academia

    • Academic publication is corrupting
    • Want nothing to do with false economy
    • Our standards have to be higher than academic, have to have shimojitsu, no compromise
    Doing Scrum rather than what the Scrum Alliance enforces Sometimes difficult to differentiate from IEEE papers
    A working community

    • Alexander beat on his students
    Adamant about no Powerpoints, no “talks” or keynotes

    • Don’t want to be higher up
    • Not standing up in front
    ScrumPLoP has a working community

    • Cope and Sutherland each spend half time on ScrumPLoP
    • Some contributors spend one month per year, others spend more
    Starting to look more like normal conferences; co-location with SPLASH for survival

    • In 2015, are moving outside of SPLASH
    • Last 2 years, PLoP has been at Allerton
    Community authoring and maintenance Ne-mawashi, Yoriais and Mikoshi, Wikis

    • Come together to discuss
    • Didn’t want academics originally, as a pattern can become a cheap way of publishing
    Community authoring, review and publication

    • A way to come
    • Swarming
    • Started with an academic model where one person comes with a model, but now starting to use wikis
    • Still community review
    • At ScrumPLoP, will have a struggle, as some people will say that “this is my pattern”, because they need an academic approach
    Individual authoring, community  review

    • See a lot of patterns not socialized in a community
    • In Chicago, used to have a group that would meet once a month


    “Language of Harmony” by Masanari Motohashi (2010):  probably the best pattern language ever written

    There are a lot of deep ideas that Alexander understands

    • What is the place of time in architecture?
    • What is the geometry of time?  Japanese may have insight, ma [see Wikipedia entry on ma as “negative space”]
    • In Danish, read the wind, put the finger in the ground
    • Read the kabuki of the community

    At ScrumPLoP have first day that doesn’t do patterns

    • Then second day, do planning, create trust (translated as empathy), sense of one culture, not-separateness

    As your professor, now give you a homework assignment to read Motohashi’s paper

    • Beauty that emerges from a community, and its activities


    In the old days in Japan, the meeting were more open

    • Then had a scandal, as gangs would come into mikoshi — not just a community but the neighbouring community — but then a moratorium on mikoshi
    • Now people carrying mikoshi have to wear uniforms, it’s too hard

    Problem starting with students, is people won’t have experience to judge

    [David stopped taking notes, and joined the circle for 10 minutes of discussion]

  • daviding 3:31 am on March 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    2015/03/06 09:55 Hiroshi Nakano, “Japanese Spirituality and Pattern Language”, AsianPLoP 2015 

    Hiroshi Nakano, Center for Environmental Structure

    Keynote presentation at the 4th Asian Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, Waseda University, Tokyo

    This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the web by David Ing.

    Call him super-Hiro (as opposed to normal Hiro, the conference chair)

    An architect, not a software developer

    Not an expert on explaining Japanese spirituality, it’s part of being Japanese

    Gauguin painting:  From where do we come from?  Where are we?  To where are we going?

    Taisetsu Suzuki, Buddhist philospoher, book:  Japanese Spirituality

    • Every object either organic or non-organic, has its own life in itself
    • Some are clearly visible, others are hidden it only show up when some indicators effects upon it


    • Patterns
    • Centering

    Zen teaching:

    • A is not A, therefore A is A
    • When A is denied, you have to reflect about why it is not A
    • Look for another way to look at A
    • Get a new paradigm
    • See A from a new paradigm
    • Then you know what is A

    You have to look for the new way of looking at things

    Christopher Alexander:

    • Seeking the answer to:  What is beauty? What is good?

    Kurosawa movie (pre-war)

    • Two men come to shrine, see lady praying at shrine
    • Master asks:  what makes the beauty?
    • There’s nothing more beautiful
    • Where does that beauty come from?
    • It’s from her ego
    • She’s praying, giving up herself, throwing away her ego, concentrating on her praying, then the beauty comes out

    You may not have religion, but praying for something, concentrating on it, without thinking yourself in it, then beauty comes automatically

    By concentrating on the process, then beauty comes automatically

    What Alexander found was patterns

    • First started (at Notes on the Synthesis of Form) with mathematical logical processes through hierarchical decomposition
    • At this point, patterns was rational
    • Divided pattern into tiny elements, combined them to solve problems
    • Later, he added semi-lattice of real world, changed to illustrate as A Pattern Language
    • Each pattern in itself has almost a completely presently shared patterns
    • Each pattern shows a different seeing world
    • A story that gives motivation, why to use this pattern language

    Patterns are a simple structure that everyone can use and learn them

    • Context:  Forces hidden in the related field, not just inside the pattern but also from outside the pattern (could be human) as well as internal
    • Form:  By what kind of geometry of relations
    • Conflict between forces:  How to set forces equilibrium
    • So each pattern is combined or fused by the aid of forces context indicates.  here patterns funcdtoin are integrated

    Now call project language rather than pattern language:  a specific goal

    • Project languages add up to become a history of pattern languages

    Not simple

    • #197 is Thick Walls — not just Walls
    • Thick means to change the way you think about walls
    • Pattern gives the motive to see the world differently
    • Without such force, patterns are weak


    • Not a dent in the wall
    • Private work in a small room with community work on the large room
    • Doesn’t separate out the private from the community
    • Presented as visual
    • All have visual forms
    • Patterns came from how to build buildings, but can use in human world
    • To make a pattern language, have to use technical stuff

    Language is a complex way of expression

    • Pattern language makes a story
    • Selected good patterns give a motivation to move
    • A collection of patterns give strong motives, with a narrative story

    Idea of repair, fixing a broken system

    • From Oregon Experiment:  an injury healing system as an example
    • When have an injury in the hand, will have automatic fix, but don’t know how it works
    • An injury is monitored by the whole body
    • Skin injury has contact with the brain, order will come on how fix it
    • Before injury, have a scheme to fix
    • This is a healing process
    • All processes in the pattern language are healing processes: we must fix something, change something
    • The whole process is changing the world
    • A repair system is a centering process in the nature of order

    2011.3.11 had a disaster

    • How to fix?
    • Four years have passed, nothing has changed
    • Problems are the same as before it happened
    • These villages were already dead end villages
    • They lived in dead end houses
    • People don’t have have funeral ceremonies in the temporary houses

    Story:  young mother threw newly born baby over the top of the hill, as tsunami chased right after her

    • She survived, the grandmother and father died in car
    • How to get a new recovery of human life should be the first thing in the morning
    • Photography of concentration camp train in WWII, sending Jewish prisoners, where mother threw baby out of train
    • Auschwitz tragedy similar to Japanese tragedy
    • Have to change the situation
    • Global situation, people are suffering, how to live on?

    Pattern language is how to solve conflicting forces into the balanced situation

    • Make good stories to change the world
    • Step by step of generating the pattern language is critical to change

    Patterns are found through direct people’s communications

    • Sometimes can be found in local culture, traditions, history, daily lives, and sometimes through logics
    • Real good patterns are extracted from strong visions
    • A is not A, then can see what A is A

    Two perspectives:

    • Disaster victims (landowners) and office bureaucrats (who have procedures, seeking written applications)
    • People are dying, most people are over 70 years old
    • Some officials are also victims, they know what the disaster victims are saying, but they are following the bureaucratic red tape

    Made a plan after 3 months, but bureaucrats said no.

    • Road first, then houses
    • Have to figure out how to pay
    • Why do the bureaucrats keep giving some terrible answers to a mother who threw her baby to the hill?

    Bureaucratic response:  flatten the mountain, work against nature

    AsianPLoP Day 1 plenary

    The relations of a human network has a visual form configuration:  sub-symmetry

    • Landowners <–> Intermediate Aid Organization <–> Disaster Victims
    • Proposed 6 months after disaster
    • Said okay
    • Just formal organization didn’t work

    They lack a vision

    • They lack a whole
    • They lack to get back a life.

    What is important is how to repair a life

    • Get a house

    Proposing a project language, as an intermediate aid organization doesn’t work, what should we do

    First, need a clear, healthy vision

    • Where is a healthy body, then will know how to repair
    • Japanese spirituality clearly insists how to see this vision
    • Only though this spirituality we may have be able to grasp this vision
    • We tend to see the world based on dualism, in a Cartesian way of thinking, from philosopher Descartes
    • Hard to deny Descartes these days
    • Today, schools are based on dualism:  subjects, objects
    • Make things as far away from emotions
    • Cool attitudes
    • We must stop this

    In order to understand this idea, the center is useful

    • In the Nature of Order, it’s described in a complicated way
    • Could read again and again, won’t get it.
    • Easier way:  a center has properties
    • e.g. hand is connected the body, not isolated
    • Center is not isolated, it’s connected to the other world
    • Connected, the hand is alive
    • The center is alive
    • At the same time, it’s the one whole
    • Hand and fingers come together as a whole
    • This is a way of synthesizing parts all together as a whole
    • A is not A
    • Each hand is a center

    This idea of center is different from Cartesian

    • Have to see the whole and part at the same time
    • In the development of the world, this emerges
    • A pattern itself can become a center, but the pattern is a repetitive entity
    • Can generate a process of centering, so that get objects with life
    • Everything has life in it
    • Have to create or generate life with the aid of a centering process
    • Can we give life?  Be a Frankenstein?

    Diagram of plant

    • Every pattern is a leaf
    • Forces comes from the outside
    • Some leaves gather in a same place
    • Context is an outside forces with push each pattern towards a certain direction

    Centering process:  (a manual for a centering process)

    • First episode is ambiguous
    • Second episode is connect with the first, and then enhances the first
    • This can be repeated endlessly, aggregation goes on — which is the timeless way

    Good movies are made of several chapters or stories, but they are all correlated with each other

    • This is a process
    • Try this

    Each centering episode can be a project language

    • It has life

    Patterns are selected for a certain vision, aiming at repairing the existing world to a world with life

    • Could be a paradigm shift

    In the book Battle for Life and Beauty, everything is a fight

    • Such battles may not be necessary, if have piecemeal growth
    • Create a project language
    • Helping a lady on a bus, or homeless people into a shelter
    • Small acts will add up to a whole world

    Another diagram:  project language for goals

    From the side of Process From the side of Form
    Centering process
    Pattern language
    Project language

    Eight houses in Okayama prefecture

    • Hot springs
    • Ocean view
    • Had preserved trees, didn’t cut one pine
    • Shape of the house is strange, as it avoids the trees
    • Designed bath house for community
    • All designed with pattern language
    • This group was succeeded through interesting media
    • After making pattern language for homes and shops, wrote an imaginary future letter, as if sent 10 years after the project:  a whole story of a town in the future
    • Not just form, can appreciate the town
    • Read this imaginary letter to the future town at a meeting, and they understood the story made of patterns, without understanding a pattern language
    • Dream letter became a great motive to move on, make a new town
    • 12 years ago, this town was deserted in the summer, and even in the winter despite being a hot spring center
    • Made walkways around town, to visit many hot springs
    • Now, the town is active, can’t make an appointment at a hotel, so busy

    Centering process and making vision sounds difficult, but can imagine a reality with a strong message to change people’s motives

    Photographs of houses and shops

    • Pension hotel
    • Houses have similarity, but different:  roofs, windows, facades in hidden order coming out
    • Each house has a different pattern language

    In order to change the stream, it’s like a big river

    • One small stream will branch off
    • Then can have another breakthrough
    • Will have more branches off the main stream
    • This is what I want you to demonstrate
    • The world is full of tragedy, each person should make some effort to create a strong message with life in it
    • Have to know what is life in an object:  can read a difficult book

    Whole world, whole nature, whole human

    • We are all connected together
    • We should seek order, peaceful life
    • Change the world with beauty, step by step
    • Some day you can change the whole world


    Repairing the world requires effort.  How can we make bureaucrats see?

    • Taking pictures of town
    • Which ones have life?

    Make something that makes me feel?

    Changing bureaucrats?

    • Pattern language as a strong tool
    • First, have to change own awareness
    • Now getting old, next year may not be able to see you, so want to see you take action now
    • Read Oregon Experiment and Nature of Order
    • Some artists know which ones are alive:  this town is dead, this hotel is dead
    • Intuitively know, but not at a continuous level

    Where can find more material on centers?

    • From workshops
    • When you see the hand, how do you organize the hand?  By vision, by hand, by wisdom, by knowledge?  My hand is alive, it’s connected
    • A center is a way of looking at the world
    • When someone speaks, how can you tell it’s her voice?  It’s by looking at her as a whole.

    In the Battle for Life and Beauty of the Earth, would you describe that as a project language rather than a pattern language?

    • Yes.
    • Have been working on this for 50 years.
    • Christopher Alexander is old now, he can’t work
    • Feel repeating the same thing.
  • daviding 7:20 pm on February 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2014, , number of employees   

    Number of IBM employees was 379,592 for year-end 2014 

    IBM officially reported on the number of employees for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014 in the 10-K filed with the SEC on Feb. 24, 2015.

    Employees and Related Workforce

    Yr.-to–Yr. Percent Change
    For the year ended December 2014 2013 2012 2014-13 2013-12
    IBM/wholly owned subsidiaries 379,592* 431,212 434,246 (12.0)% (0.7)%
    Less-than-wholly owned subsidiaries 8,862 9,018 8,009 (1.7)% 12.6%
    Complementary 24,321 23,555 24,740 3.3% (4.8)%
    • Reflects reduction of approximately 35,000 resources due to divestitures.

    As a globally integrated enterprise, the company operates in more than 175 countries and is continuing to shift its business to the higher value segments of enterprise IT. The decrease in total resources from 2013 to 2014 was primarily due to divestitures in 2014, which drove a reduction of approximately 38,000 resources. The company continues to remix its skills and resource needs to match the best opportunities in the marketplace.

    The complementary workforce is an approximation of equivalent full-time employees hired under temporary, part-time and limited- term employment arrangements to meet specific business needs in a flexible and cost-effective manner.

    Source: Form 10-K Annual Report | Feb. 24, 2015 | United States Security and Exchange Commission at

    via:  IBM’s work force drops by 50,000 in 2014 under reboot | Rick Smith | Feb. 25, 2015 | WRAL Techwire

  • daviding 10:27 am on February 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: goal, , mission, palmisano, questions   

    Four guiding questions to make a company great (Sam Palmisano, 2003/2011) 

    Four guiding questions were given in 2003 to the top 300 managers at IBM to make the company great (again):

    • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
    • “Why would somebody work for you?”
    • “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
    • “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”

    Mr. Palmisano formulated those questions in the months after he became C.E.O. in March 2002 His predecessor, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., recruited to I.B.M. in 1993, had already pulled the company out of a financial tailspin, first reducing the size of the work force and cutting costs, and then leading a remarkable recovery.

    In meetings after he took over, Mr. Palmisano told colleagues that I.B.M. was still good, but that it wasn’t the standard-setting corporation that it had been when he joined in 1973. (A history major at Johns Hopkins and a star offensive lineman on the football team, he turned down a tryout with the Oakland Raiders of the N.F.L. for a sales job at the company.)

    The four questions, he explains, were a way to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again.

    “This needs to be our mission and goal, to make I.B.M. a great company,” he said, according to executives who attended the gathering. [….]

    “The hardest thing is answering those four questions,” Mr. Palmisano says. “You’ve got to answer all four and work at answering all four to really execute with excellence.”

    “Even a Giant Can Learn to Run” | Steve Lohr | Dec. 31, 2011 | New York Times at
    Samuel J. Palmisano, who is departing as I.B.M.'s chief, devised four questions that pushed his huge company to stay a step ahead of rivals.

  • daviding 9:02 am on February 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , training   

    Distinction between education and training? “If my daughter told me she was getting sex education in school I’d be pleased. If she told me she got sex training I’d go straight to the police.”

    “Education versus Training” | Peter Rickman | Feb/Mar 2015 | Philosophy Now at

  • daviding 10:01 am on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alpha, beta, test, testing   

    Etymology of alpha test, beta test 

    Where did the terms “alpha” and “beta” in software development come from?

    … to beta-test is to test a pre-release (potentially unreliable) version of a piece of software by making it available to selected (or self-selected) customers and users. This term derives from early 1960s terminology for product cycle checkpoints, first used at IBM but later standard throughout the industry. Alpha Test was the unit, module, or component test phase; Beta Test was initial system test. These themselves came from earlier A- and B-tests for hardware. The A-test was a feasibility and manufacturability evaluation done before any commitment to design and development. The B-test was a demonstration that the engineering model functioned as specified. The C-test (corresponding to today’s beta) was the B-test performed on early samples of the production design, and the D test was the C test repeated after the model had been in production a while.

    Eric S. Raymond, “Beta.” The on-Line Hacker Jargon File, Version 4.4.2. May 22, 2003.

    In a description of development of storage devices at IBM in 1969:

    Before a product could be shipped, procedures in place at the time required successful completion of three levels of reliability testing designated as product tests, A, B, and C. Completion of A test was normally required before a product could be announced; it verified that the product built by the development group met design objectives. Completion of B test was required for release of the product to manufacturing; it demonstrated that the documentation supplied to manufacturing by the development group adequately specified the product. Completion of C test was required before a product could be shipped; it demonstrated that manufactured hardware performed as specified.49

    49K. E. Haughton, 24 August 1988; interview by E. W. Pugh.

    Emerson W. Pugh, Lyle R. Johnson, and John H. Palmer. 1991. IBM’s 360 and Early 370 Systems. MIT Press.
    • craig kensek 6:52 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      So that’s where it came from. I never knew there was a “c” test. Firm’s I’ve been in have sometimes announced to some of the world that a product was in alpha. After beta, we’d also have controlled release so that we could ship it to customers for revenue but not necessarily make the product available to the world. Good article.

  • daviding 8:49 am on December 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: analysis, articulation, synthesis   

    Fumio Kodama defines articulation with systems concepts of synthesis and analysis:

    The word “articulate” has two conflicting meanings:  (1) to divide into parts and (2) to put together by joints.13  Thus, the word encompasses two opposite concepts:  analysis (decomposition) and synthesis (integration).

    13 According to Webster’s dictionary, articulate comes from the Latin articulare.

    This term is used in a the specific context of new technologies and research and development.

    The most important element in targeted technology development is the process in which the need for specific technology emerges and R&D effort is targeted toward developing and perfecting it.  This is what we call demand articulation.  [….]

    In fact, both [analysis and synthesis] are necessary in technology development, and the heart of the problem concerning technology development is how to manage these conflicting tasks.  Therefore, I define demand articulation as a dynamic interaction of technological activities that involve integrating potential demands into a product concept and decomposing this product concept into development agendas for its individual component technologies.  [p. 145]

    Fumio Kodama, Emerging Patterns of Innovation: Sources of Japan’s Technological Edge, Harvard Business Press 1985, [see on Google Books]

    This idea were clarified by Kodama in a Rendez Research Salon on Innovation in Tokyo, August 2007.

    Rendez Research Salon on Innovation, Tokyo, Japan, August 2007

    In Tokyo, August 2007: Yoshi Horiuchi, Fumio Kodama, Gary S. Metcalf

    See also references to Russell Ackoff and Andras Angyal in “Systems thinking prescribes an ordering of synthesis and analysis, emphasizing superordinates (containing wholes)” | David Ing | Nov. 20, 2011 | Coevolving Innovations at

  • daviding 8:22 pm on November 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , designerly, interaction design   

    2014/10/21 Erik Stolterman, “Improving Design without Destroying It” (web video) 

    A designerly approach is contrasted with a scientific approach or an artistic approach by Erik Stolterman, Professor Informatics, Indiana University.

    Here’s some excerpts from the video hangout with CHI Belgium posted at  .

    [8:45] Maybe it’s more like a dilemma.  How can you improve design work without destroying it?

    [9:40] When I talk about design now, today, I do talk about design as it is practiced in the field oF HCI and interaction design.  It’s the professional practice of interaction design that I’m discussing.   However, I think that it might be applied to any design field, but that might be a topic for another discussion.

    [10:25] It seems today like every business, or every agency, or every institution believes that they should adopt some type of design thinking, because if you do, you become better at what you do in some way.  [….]

    [11:20] There is a problem with this.  There is a problem that a lot of people realized, because when you accept that design a way of approaching how to create new technologies, how to create new applications, how to create new interactive systems, you’re going to create it in a designerly way.

    [11:55] First of all, what do you mean by a designerly way?  The other question is why do you do it, what are the benefits of it?  And the third piece is what I want to talk about.  Let’s say there is a good reason for doing it — there is a good reason for doing it in a designerly way in HCI — then how can you prove that?  And this is where the dilemma comes in.

    [12:30]  Why do people believe that a designerly approach is a good thing, in our field.  First of all, you have to accept that doing things in a designerly way is a choice.  It’s not that have do it in that way.  You can choose any other approach.  You can chose a scientific approach, you can choose an artistic approach, you can choose an engineering approach.  You can choose a religious approach, if you want to.  It’s possible.

    [13:10] The choice you make is based on the idea that you believe that picking one approach instead of another gives you some benefit that you believe is beneficial to you.

    [13:40] For people who already know design, and are engaged in design, it’s has become more and more obvious over the years that design itself has become a disciplined practice.  A lot of people who don’t know design or haven’t work with design don’t see it as a disciplined practice.  […]

    [14:10] When you ask someone what is design, they come up with these descriptions that are unfortunate in many ways.  They say, well, it’s not as rational or logical as say, a scientific approach, and it’s not so stable and structured as an engineering approach, so what’s left is that design becomes this approach that is non-structured, irrational, no one really knows what it is, and it seems like anything goes.  That’s a problem.

    [14:50]  If you do understand the designerly way of doing things, you do understand that it requires a disciplined way of working.  It requires a designerly logic.  It requires a designerly, rigourous way of doing things.

    [15:20]  This approach, design, delivers unique outcomes.  It can help to create new things, innovative things, things we haven’t thought of, before.

    [15:50] So what’s the bad side?  The problem with design is that it’s not predictable.  It’s not very efficient, necessarily.  It’s filled with risk. It’s super risky.  It demands a lot of competence or skills that are not easy to acquire.  It’s not that you become a designer by reading an article and applying what you’ve learned.  That’s not how it really works.

    [16:50] And you never really know if you’ve solved the problem.  Design doesn’t solve problems.  Design changes reality.  There is no way — and this is a big problem with designers working with non-designerly people — is that you say, well, this is where we ended up, and maybe the client says that’s not what we asked for.  Well, no, but we realized through the design process that that problem that was defined was not really the problem, so we went back, and we rethought things, and we changed the way we think about the situation, and based on that, we came up with this other possible solution.  So this is the design we ended up with.  And that sounds very strange to people who are not a design thinking mode, because it becomes complete unpredictable.

    [17:45]  If you’re a client, and you want to hire designer to build an interactive application, and they suddently come up with something completely different, how do you understand that, how do you work with that?  As a client, it’s difficult.  How do you work that with a client?  This is something that designers also understand.  They understand that the way we work, with iteration, with prototyping, and experimenting and exploring, where we change both the problem and the solution at the same time through the process we’ve never done, we just run out of money.  There are no right or wrong solutions, there are just solutions with consequences.  […]

    [18:20] A lot of people who work in this area with design and a designerly approach do understand that it’s problematic to explain design, and it has its limits.  For instance, the predictability, the risks, the inefficiency, and all of those things.  It’s very expensive.  It’s cery complex.  It requires competence.

    [18:45] So they start to try to improve design. And this is where the dilemma comes in.  I call it the improvement trap.  It is a trap.  What happens is that even good designers look at the design process themselves, and they say, maybe we can make this more efficient; maybe we can make it more predictable; maybe we can make it less person-dependent.  So they try to change the design process itself, so it doesn’t have the weaknesses that a lot of people see in design.  At the same time, this is the trap.

    [19:40]  It seem to be the case that almost all of those improvements are not necessarily improvements.  They change the design process into something else.  And if you do enough of those improvements, you might actually end up with a design process that isn’t design anymore.  It’s a completely different process.  It’s not a designerly approach.  Because now, it has taken on all these other things, from other approaches.  And what that means that it can’t deliver anymore.

    [20:20]  So what is it that it can’t deliver?  It can’t deliver these unique outcomes, these new innovative outcomes that surprise people, and fascinate people with these new possibilities.  Because if you restrict the design process so that it becomes a non-design process, then it can’t deliver the outcomes that the design process has, over time, become very good at delivering.

    [20:55]  This can happen in any field.  If we take art, for instance, in art, we do know that most people accept the artistic approach as a way of creating highly personal artistic expressions about the world, or about a reality.  What’s problematic with the artistic approach?  First of all, it’s so slow.  It’s very person-dependent.  Let’s take an efficiency perspective on art.  Art is very difficult to manage,  You never really know when this artist will produce a piece of art.  So, if what you want to do is to make art more efficient, and less person-dependent, let’s have instead of having one artist that creates these personal expressions about reality, let’s hire ten who would do the same thing.  Then we have ten different people who would create the same type of artistic expressions.  If you think about that, almost everyone, even if they don’t understand art, would say, well, that’s crazy, you can’t do that.  If you that, then it’s not art anymore, and now it’s something completely different.  It’s a process that is kind of streamlined, people have to do the same thing.  Of course, it is now, which was the purpose, person-independent, it’s efficient and fast.  But at the same time, most people would argue, it’s not art anymore.  And the outcome will not be considered to be art.

    [22:40]  You can take the same thing with science, which is just the opposite, actually.  If you take science as the example, science is a really great approach to create really stable truths about reality, and it does that based on time.  It’s also a very slow and difficult process, and it has to be person-independent, so it’s contrary to art this is person-dependent.  Anyone who does science is supposed to come up with the same result.  So, why not make science more efficient?  Why have have people who want certain results pay individual scientists to come up with the results that they’re looking for?  That would be much more efficient.  It just sounds so crazy, so we wouldn’t even consider those consider that idea, even though we have those examples from, say, the tobacco industry, who have paid for a lot of interesting studies over the years.  We all know that, and everybody says that’s valid research, that’s not the way it can be done.

    [24:10] So there are some intrinsic approaches of these approaches that cannot really be changed, because if you do change them, you lose the whole purpose with that particular approach.  [….]

    [33:30]  If you want to do work to improve design,  the best thing you can do to improve design today is to not manipulate the process, but to create a better understanding of the process.  I would like to see more people focusing on the understanding part on what makes design unique instead of focusing on coming up with improved ways of changing the process.


    [37:30] A designerly approach is the approach that we take or humans uses when they want to come up with something not yet existing.  If you want to produce something, and you already know what it is, if it’s just a matter of creating it in a little bit of a variation, or in a better, maybe improve it in some way, it always has a little bit of design challenge to it, but it is mostly not a design challenge.

    [38:10] A designer approach to me is the approach where you start out with the situation, maybe a problem, but it’s not.  During the process, you realize that  the problem is not necessarily what we thought it was.  During the process, the solution changes constantly, the problem changes constantly, and the idea about what you need to do next changes constantly.  So there is this kind of very strange, nonlinear play dynamic between the situation and the problem on one hand, the solution and the final design on the other hand, and the process on the third.  And they all influence each other.  So, that’s why it’s so difficult for designers to, in advance, say what they’re going to do.

    [39:10] The design process is this very dynamic complex process that unfolds when you get to deep dive into the situation and the people and the limitations and everything that you have to deal with.  The process unfolds.  The only thing you can do, and this is what designers do, of course, you can describe the process on a high level, and you can talk about, well, we have the phase when we have to talk about the problem, and then we have the phase where we come up with some initial ideas, and then we have the phase when we do more detailed design.  That is correct on some very abstract level, but we all know, at any time in this process, it can jump back, almost to the beginning to reframe the whole problem, and it takes a completely different way.

    [40:10] That, to me, is the designerly approach.  It’s this approach where you, in a dynamic way, work between the problem, the solution and the process, and they define each other in a way that almost no other process really does.

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