Por que cidades crescem, empresas e pessoas sempre morrem, e a vida fica mais rápida? /ou: It's complex (adaptive), baby...

Posted: 7 de jun de 2011 | . David Lojudice Sobrinho | tags: , , ,

"Melhor 51.22 minutos que eu gastei nos últimos bons tempos. OBRIGADO!" - Richard Saul Wurman (fundador das conferencias TED)

Normalmente não utilizo este blog para a simples divulgação de conteúdo, já que tenho outros meios de fazer isso (twitter, google reader, trunk.ly). Tento ao menos digerir algo para colocar aqui. Mas dessa vez, acho que vale quebrar a regra e simplesmente divulgar esse excelente vídeo, já que é sobre um assunto recorrente neste blog.

Geoffrey West, físico teórico, ex-presidente do Instituto Santa Fé (famoso instituto dedicado ao estudo de sistemas adaptativos complexos), mostra no vídeo abaixo os resultados dos seus mais recentes estudos no campo de sistemas complexos e problemas de escala (vindos da física). Mais informações no vídeo e no site:

Why Cities Keep Growing, Corporations and People Always Die, and Life Gets Faster

Alguns pontos do vídeo (tirados do site):

... The great thing about cities, the thing that is amazing about cities is as they grow, so to speak, their dimensionality increases. That is, the space of opportunity, the space of functions, the space of jobs just continually increases. And the data shows that. If you look at job categories, it continually increases. I'll use the word "dimensionality." It opens up. And in fact, one of the great things about cities is that it supports crazy people. You walk down Fifth Avenue, you see crazy people. There are always crazy people. Well, that's good. Cities are tolerant of extraordinary diversity.

This is in complete contrast to companies. The Google boys in the back garage so to speak with ideas of the search engine, were no doubt promoting all kinds of crazy ideas and maybe having even crazy people around them.

Well, Google is a bit of an exception, because it still tolerates some of that. But most companies start out probably with some of that buzz. But the data indicates that at about 50 employees to a hundred that buzz starts to stop. A company that was more multi dimensional, more evolved, becomes uni dimensional. It closes down.

Indeed, if you go to General Motors or you go to American Airlines or you go to Goldman Sachs, you don't see crazy people. Crazy people are fired. Well, to speak of crazy people, is taking the extreme. But maverick people are often fired.

It's not surprising to learn that when manufacturing companies are on a down turn, they decrease research and development, and in fact in some cases, do actually get rid of it, thinking this is "oh, we can get that back in two years we'll be back on track."

Well, this kind of thinking kills them. This is part of the killing, and this is part of the change from superlinear to sublinear, namely companies allow themselves to be dominated by bureaucracy and administration over creativity and innovation, and unfortunately, it's necessary. You cannot run a company without administrative. Someone has got to take care of the taxes and the bills and the cleaning the floors and the maintenance of the building and all the rest of that stuff. You need it. And the question is, "can you do it without it dominating the company?" The data suggests that you can't.

The question is, as a scientist, can we take these ideas and do what we did in biology, at least based on networks and other ideas, and put this into a quantitative, mathematizable, predictive theory, so that we can understand the birth and death of companies, how that stimulates the economy? How it's related to cities? How does it affect global sustainability and have a predictive framework for an idealized system, so that we can understand how to deal with it and avoid it? If you're running a bigger company, you can recognize what the metrics are that are driving you to mortality, and possibly put it off, and hopefully even avoid it.

Otherwise we have a theory that tells you when Google and Microsoft will eventually die, and die might mean a merger with someone else.

Animais, cidades, empresas... a mesma coisa! Metáforas nunca estiveram tão próximas da realidade...

2 comentários:

  1. Edmar Wiggers (Macrovita) disse...
  2. Oi David! Obrigado pelo post! Edmar

  3. Edmar Wiggers (Macrovita) disse...
  4. Oi David! Obrigado pelo post! Edmar