How long before this keels over?
I spent the day with an infrastructure specialist colleague who works in a satellite office about an hour further up north. Despite us having spoken nearly every day for the last 18 months, it was the first time we met in person, and it was every bit as fun as I expected it to be. I got an education in his area of expertise: the technology, the processes, the tools. I also got a perspective about the people, the motivations and incentives that drive behaviours.
Like the tree in the picture above, for all practical purposes, the infrastructure is functioning and delivering great value to most of those that depend on it. At the same time, for any one observing, the problems at the foundation are visible, the inevitable outcome predictable. Yet, the obsession to maximise returns to shareholders means that there is no room for resilience. A tweet from Ryan Petersen that I saw today, in the context of the supply chain fragility that CoVID has exposed sums it up:
To show great ROE almost every CEO stripped their company of all but the bare minimum of assets. Just in time everything. No excess capacity. No strategic reserves. No cash on the balance sheet. Minimal R&D.
— Ryan Petersen (@typesfast) October 28, 2021
I see these frailties in so many areas of everyday life in Australia: healthcare, agecare, childcare.. the list goes on. No money gets invested in these real human needs, and the media rails against the technologists’ obsession with the metaverse or alternate realities.
So many opportunities for anyone keen enough to make a difference, and more importantly, cares enough to do so.