Awasu » Space
Friday 23rd November 2007 11:01 AM [General]

Continuing on from yesterday, I implied that one of the hardest things for a musician to do was learn how to play honestly and from the heart. While that's very true, I forgot to mention something that's even harder: learning how to not play. We spend thousands of hours studying our instruments, all that theory, how to perform, and so it's extraordinarily difficult to be able to just shut the hell up and do nothing 🙄

Elizabeth Adams talked recently about allowing space, and relates it to the same idea in music.

Rests in music, like the blank areas in a drawing, or the cloud that passes over the moon, are there for a reason: they heighten what happens around them, and they also make us think about absence, about the negative in a world that seems to be all about sound, or about marks on paper or canvas.

There are often periods of quiet on this weblog, which is not good from the point of view of maintaining visibility nor promoting Awasu but to be honest, I'll only write when I've got something worth saying or want to share. I'm often flat out working on the next release and won't write much here, not so much because I don't have the time but because my head is in another place that's not conducive to good writing.

But it's just not music or other artistic activities that can benefit from leaving space. Tom DeMarco, author of "Peopleware", also wrote the equally good "Slack" which talks about exactly this. From the Amazon review:

DeMarco writes, "Organizations sometimes become obsessed with efficiency and make themselves so busy that responsiveness and net effectiveness suffer." By intentionally creating downtime, or "slack," management will find a much-needed opportunity to build a "capacity to change" into an otherwise strained enterprise that will help companies respond more successfully to constantly evolving conditions.

In other words, because we're so busy all the time, we don't have a chance to stop and think about what we're doing, learn new things, try them out. We're like mice running furiously around in the wheel, working really hard but not actually moving forwards 🙂

And it gets worse. In the interests of wringing every last ounce of "productivity" out of our employees, infrastructure and just about everything else, we've loaded them up to run at 100%, all the time. The problem with this is that when the next spike in demand comes along, as it surely will, there's no spare capacity to handle it and the system fails and unfortunately, since they often don't degrade gracefully, they instead collapse in a screaming heap. On the other hand, it's difficult to imagine any manager being able to survive in today's climate if he's doing anything other than running his operation full-tilt into the ground 🙄

Maybe it really is time to retire to the hills and start growing my own vegetables [1]...


[1] In case you don't know, Earl has written a lot about collapsing systems in the past. I was going to link to him but gave up trying to decide what... 😀

Have your say