This is the more interesting post. Previously: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2016/08/11/om-eddy-steve
As an aside, I was struck by this post because I happened to watch several different TV/movie episodes recently which all involved an accident and then people rushing to the hospital. “I need to see them!!!” Maybe I’m just a terrible person, but if somebody I cared about was hospitalized, I would not risk life and limb to drive to the hospital at breakneck speed to watch them breathing through a tube.
Of course, this irrationality not only crosses over into business practice, but it sets expectations. It matters not a bit that you can’t personally do anything. You need to sit there and conspicuously not have fun to prove you’re being serious. I’ve sat through a few occasions where one person is on a deadline, which means everybody else needs to sit around checking Facebook because they can’t go home out of “solidarity”.
What makes it so hard to acknowledge that sometimes there’s nothing one can contribute?
A lifetime of feeling that one doesn’t have control of their life, coupled with efforts to change that, leading to cognitive dissonance about the limits of those efforts.
Being judged by those we can’t trust to understand that.
So, I think there’s kinda two parts to this.
On the one hand, having everybody else stuck surfing the ‘net to show solidarity is often a waste of time–though it can be a huge morale boost to know that you aren’t firefighting on something all by yourself. For people horizontal to you in an org-chart, your messes are not their messes.
On the other hand, if you are in a position of leadership, you are nominally responsible for whatever your minions are doing or whatever fires they are putting out. With a major outage for 6 hours in a culture that is as externally hero-worshipping as Apple, I would expect that everybody in the org chart is doing whatever it is that they can to be on deck, if for no other reason than to support their underlings.
If you don’t show up and they can manage without you, that’s fine, but then one wonders why you’re on the payroll.
It’s increasingly popular (or seems to be, to me anyways) to ignore basic truths about hierarchical organizations of human beings, one of which is that you deploy with the troops and you come back when they’re all finished. Doing otherwise is not good leadership.
If the fellow was completely unable to get in touch with his team or whatever, then that’s one thing–but unless that’s the case, he should have been there with his team.
Strong agree that he is responsible for what happens. But that’s something to discuss in the post mortem. He’s not the guy who will fix the problem. He’s not the fixer’s boss, or even their boss. He’s like nine levels up the tree.
Does he even work in the same building? Does it help for Eddy to sit in the dark in building 2 while a team works on the problem in building 3? Or should he hover about like a judgmental helicopter? Will that inspire the team to greatness?
He’s getting paid for strategy (you know, like we should totally build Apple Maps), not tactics. At a certain point, I think your organization is dysfunctional if the people at the top need to show up every day. :)
Actually, thinking about that… There’s probably a formula to calculate how long an outage must last before escalation to the next level of management. log base something maybe.
Anyway, since I was curious, I looked up the outage in question. As near as I can tell, it was three hours, not six. And it was resolved before the NBA game started. So it’s entirely possible he was there, hovering over people’s shoulders, griping about tabs and spaces, and then went to the game afterwards. Which doesn’t seem like a firing offense in my opinion.