Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Candle a day ...

Many years ago, in the 1970's in fact, the president of one minicomputer company suddenly "got religion." He started holding prayer meetings at the beginning of staff meetings, and he regularly placed votive candles on computers that were behind schedule. (Mini computers were built individually by hand in those days, honest.) Newspapers covered this story with glee, and subsquently reported that the prayers and candles seemed to be working. The company became more productive and met more of its deadlines.

Many years later, in the late 1980's in fact, I talked to a very fine hardware developer who had worked at that company. "Lou," I asked him, "did those prayers and candles really make a difference?"
"Well you've got to understand," said Lou, "NOBODY wanted a candle placed on their computer. The only way to avoid one, or get them off, was to stay on schedule. We worked hard to avoid those candles."

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