Friday, January 27, 2012

This Town Ain't Big Enough

Lassiter: I don't want to throw out five crazy theories, just to get one right. I am a police detective and police detectives do not surmise that banks were knocked over by groups of angry cats with laser beams.

Sean: I never said they were angry; they were simply following orders.

This town ain't big enough for the both of... uh... me.

I think Yosemite Sam added 'comma-rabbit'.


When he said it to Bugs, he added the word rabbit at the end, you know: this town ain't big enough for the both us, rabbit. He kinda bit into the word 'rabbit' for emphasis.

OK, but what's that got to do with, uh... what were we talking about?

Your were explaining that you might not fit in here.

Oh yeah, I mean, no. I didn't mean fit as in match or be accepted or, well maybe I did somewhat, but what I really meant is fit as in size... uh, you know, like ten-pounds of shit in a five-pound sack.

So are you the shit or the sack?

Sigh... I guess I'd be the shit.

So you feel like shit?

No, well yes, sometimes, but that's not what I meant.

Well then what the heck do you mean? You're the one who brought up feeling like shit-in-a-sack.

I was just trying to illustrate what I meant by the word 'fit'. Okay, forget about the shit-in-a-sack reference. What I meant to say was that I feel too big for this organization and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Too big? You're like five-foot-ten. You're not even the biggest person here, let alone too big.

Not too big physically, too big, um... experientially. God, I suck at explaining this.

At least that's something we can agree on.


You're welcome.

Let me try again if I may.

Go for it.

Like most companies, our company has various positions each with defined roles and responsibilities.

Uh, huh.

And like most companies, roles-and-responsibilities are defined by department, e.g., finance, shipping-and-receiving, sales, marketing, physical design, and software engineering.

Right, so far.

We expect the marketing people to write marketing materials, the finance people to do financial planning, the executives to create board presentations, and the software guys to write software.

Look, you're not telling me anything new here. What's your problem?

My problem is that I can do all the above.

What? You mean like you can write marketing materials, develop financial plans, create board presentations and write software?


Wow, that sounds just terrible. Poor you.

No that's not the point.

Then what is the point? You're right about one thing; you do suck at explaining this.

Yeah, I do. It's just that I can do a lot more than my title would suggest and I can do it really well.

So your problem is that you don't have enough work to do? Cuz I can fix that.

No. The problem is that I have too much work to do, at least too much work given the output level. I could get a lot more done with a lot less work if I had more responsibilities.

That makes no sense.

Sure it does. It's all about communications overhead and cost of synchronization. If you've got a single supplier who can provide everything you need, it's less work than trying to coordinate multiple suppliers, right?

Yeah, but the single supplier may be more expensive than being your own general contractor.

But what if he's not? What if he's way cheaper than doing it yourself with a bunch of individual suppliers?

That's never the case. There'd have to be a catch.

But what if it were and what if there weren't?

There you go again.

I mean, what if it were... uh... What if it was the case that a single supplier was faster, better and cheaper and what if there wasn't a catch?

Well, I'm not agreeing that it's possible, but if it was, I'd go with the single supplier. Shit, I'd probably try to hire him.

Uh, huh... So...

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