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Monday, August 17, 2015

"SOFTWARE FOR THE FINEST COMPUTER - THE MIND"

BRYCE ON LIFE

- It's about people, not machines.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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Now and then, I am asked about our corporate slogan, "Software for the finest computer - the Mind" which we have used since our company's inception in 1971. "What does it mean, where did it come from?" I am asked. At first, it was used in connection with our "PRIDE" methodology for system design. There was nothing remotely like it on the market at the time. Consequently, people asked my father, Milt Bryce, what it was, "Is it hardware or software?" Recognizing their confusion, he said, "It's neither, actually it is software for the finest computer - the Mind," meaning it provides instructions so people could build information systems. At first, "PRIDE" consisted of nothing more than some manuals and forms for people to follow during system design. When asked what language it was programmed in, we said "English," which amusingly confused the techies. Later we added computer software to help expedite the methodology, but make no mistake, "PRIDE" is a thinking process, a way of looking at systems and how to build them. Since then, the expression has gone on to represent other aspects of management and life in general, which is why I use it in my writings.

Keep in mind, machines will do whatever you program them to do, right or wrong, and with incredible efficiency. Humans, on the other hand, tend to be more emotional and illogical, only doing what they feel comfortable with, which is not necessarily the proper course of action.

For computer programming, it is necessary to provide explicit instructions regarding the definition of such things as transactions, the default values of data and editing rules, its physical characteristics (length, justification, picture, label, etc.), processing constructs such as sequence, iteration, and choice, and the layout of inputs, outputs and files. If the slightest thing is not properly defined, the program will not function correctly.

Humans are slightly different, they need to be taught concepts and terminology, techniques and methodologies, as well as the corporate culture. To do so, it is necessary to use persuasion to instruct them to perform the proper action using the three canons of speech: ethos (based on the character of the speaker), logos (logical argument), and pathos (emotional argument). Actually, a good argument makes use of all three to get a point across. Winston Churchill, for example, often relied on his reputation as elder statesman, as well as presenting arguments appealing to both logic and emotion. A careful blend of the three canons of speech, spoken at the right time and place can work wonders. Despite all of this, mankind can be indifferent, lazy, or just plain thick.

Consider this, regardless of how well our "PRIDE" manuals were written, and the lessons taught in our training classes, if a person didn't read the books or pay attention in class, they would not execute the methodology correctly and produce inferior results. I only wish I had learned Spock's Vulcan "Mind-Meld," it sure would have simplified the transfer of knowledge.

Our slogan is also a reminder that people are of paramount importance in business and life. Some believe management is about analyzing numbers in spreadsheets, or the use of technology. In business, it is about customers, employees, and vendors. In life, it is about family, friends, neighbors, and the people we come in contact with while shopping, participating in clubs, traveling, and in our government.

It is true our technology addiction is making us more robotic in our mannerisms and thinking processes. It is also making us insensitive to our fellow human beings. As I have always contended, "As the use of technology increases, social skills decrease." This concerns me greatly.

If you have observed my writings over the years, be it regarding management, technology, politics or whatever, you will notice it has always been about the human spirit. It is not about some new gimmick or number crunching, it is about "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."

For more information on "PRIDE", click HERE.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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