Copyrights and Patents versus The Ant Hill Innovation

Apple threatens Exxon as the most valuable company on Earth. Nations are faced with an ever increasing debt problem.

I have written about the Ant Hill Innovation earlier. As the world faces increasing economic challenges, it seems the rationale behind patents and copyrights are increasingly questioned.

As Apple is squelching opposition, many start wondering if offering companies monopolies is such a good idea. What would the world have been like if Tim Berners-Lee had patented The Web 20 years ago?

With even The Economist weighing in, the future is hopefully dimmer for those who want to secure their own at the expense of the many:

…it is next to impossible to offer a new technology or software-driven service without getting sued for patent infringement.

and

At a time when our future affluence depends so heavily on innovation, we have drifted toward a patent regime that not only fails to fulfil its justifying function, to incentivise innovation, but actively impedes innovation. We rarely directly confront the effects of this immense waste of resources and brainpower and the attendant retardation of the pace of discovery, but it affect us all the same. It makes us all poorer and helps keep us stuck in the great stagnation.

It is time to rethink the patent and copyright regimes.

It is succinctly summed up over at TED:

What do you think the world would be like if there were no patents or copyrights?

My Open Source hero

I have been working professionally with Open Source software and Free Software since 2000. I have gotten to know a great many excellent developers, many work in my own company, FreeCode. But today I would like to acknowledge a person who inspires a passion I have, a hobby a cherish.

As Open Source (or even Free Software) has gone mainstream, there are Open Source developers seemingly everywhere. From the large communities like Linux (kernel, core programs, utilities, applications and various distributions), portal software (Drupal, Mediawiki, etc.) and games (Battle for Wesnoth being my favorite) to more esoteric projects.

As a reader of my blog, you may have picked up my fascination with old HP calculators and the programming of the HP-41. Especially the really low level programming in assembler, called MCODE (Machine CODE) for the HP-41. It is in this arena that I would like to acknowledge my Open Source hero.

Ángel Martin excels at MCODE. He excels at documenting MCODE. He is a learning machine and a teaching machine. He’s got more contributions to the HP-41 MCODE than you could shake a stick at and he shares his contributions freely. And he’s a social and very likable guy – not like the many Gollums who succeeds before a machine but not amongst people.

Yes, Ángel Martin is my Open Source hero.

The war is over!

When I first encountered free software in 1999, I was amazed by it’s creative power. The power of collaboration coupled with the power of a truly free marked seemed the future to me.

Back then when Linux was a geek’s OS and rarely taken seriously except as web servers, and Wikipedia was nowhere, “proprietary” seemed to trump “free” in most any arena. The push for marked dominance by secrecy, copyrights and patents was mounting with companies like Microsoft and Oracle carrying the torch of Mammon. Gordon Gekko’s legendary words, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” carried the American dream powered by egoism forward. But could something work even better? Free Software sparked a belief in me that collaboration, sharing and caring could indeed turn the tables.

My sentiment is well captured by Dan Pink in his TED talk. The endless possibilities of the Ant Hill Innovation captured my heart, my motivation. I decided to pitch in.

I got into the Free Software business in 2000. In 2004, my wife and I started FreeCode Norway (English link) and FreeCode International to help in the fight for freedom and the fight against vendor lock-ins. Being an idealist, I wanted to help make the dent in history by forwarding the ideals of freedom, creativity and human potential through collaboration.

For ten years I have been at the forefront of a battle for freedom. I went from a protector of “intellectual property” to a “copyright abolitionist“. I even rebelled against my own religion. The Church of Scientology had long since positioned itself as the main copyright terrorist on the Internet with it’s harassment tactics against anyone daring to challenge its monopoly on freedom.

I followed my heart, did countless of talks, speeches, seminars and media appearances in an effort to forward the ideology of a culture based on sharing. We helped African countries to see the light and set up FreeCode in Tanzania and Kenya, had meetings with governmental officials and got the media’s attention in Africa as well as in Russia, Ukraine and Norway.

The ideological war was fought in the area of software and it’s success gave birth to phenomenas like Wikipedia and Wikileaks. The marks of freedom was left on many parts of our society. Hell, even Microsoft started to embrace free software. Free software conquered the Internet infrastructure, started moving up the stack and is now practically everywhere.

New vistas

The conflict loving media used to cherish the David against Goliath battle of Geeks against the Establishment. But as David won out, not by vanquishing the proprietary but by its ideology slowly being absorbed by the enemy, the media interest kept sliding.

To the point where I now feel that The War Is Over.

It’s kind of sad really, as I love to have something to truly fight for. Freedom, justice and the common good. I’m not motivated by the next buck. I am motivated by making a dent in history for the common good. Oh, well. Got to find another Hill to conquer.

While the war I engaged in a decade ago may be over, there is always another Hill, and FreeCode, me and the ideology of sharing and caring will morph into a new identity to make a jab at Mammon from another angle. Because there is no rest until… Well, forget “until” – as any goal toward a common good will do – as the pleasure lies not in attaining the goal but in the journey itself. One only needs to remember to enjoy the game. Immensely.

WANTED! Value in LRH admin tech

Continuing my reexamination of Scientology information accepted at face value, I am tackling the whole of LRH admin technology.

But before I dive into the technology itself, let me briefly cover from where I do this reexamining:

I have been an executive in companies for more than 23 years, 17 of them as a CEO – mostly very successful. I have studied LRH admin tech intensively while I was the CEO of U-MAN Norway from 1990-2000. I have implemented the LRH Org Board in several companies as well as Admin Scales, LRH communication systems, management by statistics, recruitment tech, marketing tech etc. I have also studied other management philosophies such as the ISO 9000 series, Six Sigma, Lean/TPS, ITIL, COBIT, PRINCE2 and a few others. I have extensive experience with ITIL and also PRINCE2. With this as part of the back-drop, let’s dig in.

The management philosophy in Scientology was created by L. Ron Hubbard for managing the various Scientology churches and organizations. The Organization called WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) was set up to promote this LRH Admin Tech. On the web site, we find:

“We disseminate the administrative works of renowned author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard to use in organizational, professional and private endeavors. The product of more than three decades of research, piloting and codification, this body of knowledge is the world’s most comprehensive system of management and represents the first true technology of management.”

…and also:

“WISE is a fellowship of thousands of business people across the globe who recognize that the organizational and management principles developed by author L. Ron Hubbard have application to all businesses. And that where used, they greatly increase the prosperity and growth of an organization.

For 25 years WISE and its members have been disseminating these principles to business people everywhere.”

…and then:

“Our two greatest assets are the uniform workability of L. Ron Hubbard’s organizational and management principles, and the dedication of our members.”

While the latter may be true, I dispute the “uniform workability of L. Ron Hubbard’s organizational and management principles”. In fact I dispute it’s overall workability. WISE has even gone so far as to call it “The only workable administrative technology“. Really?

Let’s take a few examples:

Recruitment: Hubbard teaches an organization to recruit many staff in parallel and then keep a big back door open for those who fail. I dispute this hire-and-waste principle. I believe it to be disruptive and detrimental to an organization.

Manning up an organization: Keeping an admin/tech ratio of 2 to 1, meaning you would have only one third of the personnel delivering billable service. Do the math. What service organization can survive with this over-administration without the use of slave labor?

Management by statistics: Weekly statistics. Several statistics for each post. Managed from top-down. I have seen this creating frantic and neurotic organization with little long-term vision.

The organizing board: Hierarchical, over-administered with people stuck in boxes of responsibility and where very few are able to fulfill the implicit responsibilities of the vertical they are in charge of.

The three-basket system: Out-dated. Somebody invented the computer.

The handling of opposition: The LRH management principle here is to “always attack, never defend“, to handle any attack by discrediting the source, to dig up or invent something bad to shut up the opposition. Seriously.

These are but a few examples of non-workability within LRH admin tech. And while I have had excellent success using the Administrative Scale, having helped more than a dozen organizations and more than 250 people personally with this tool, I can also here see an even better and more workable way.

As WISE promotes; thousands of members have for more than 25 years been busy disseminating and implementing LRH admin tech. Given that this is “the only workable administrative technology”, surely there must be some stellar examples of its implementation. Right there at the top of Wall Street. Or the UN. Or the humanitarian organizations. Or… somewhere? Even the Church of Scientology is not a good example of its implementation – anything can work when you build an organization using what would normally pass for slave labor.

Are there any factual examples where LRH administrative technology has proven beyond doubt to be more successful than other management systems?

And so I return to the title of this blog post: Please help me find actual proven valuable parts of the management framework created by L. Ron Hubbard.

I am not about to go to any extreme here. I am an advocate for taking what works and using it where it proves valuable. I am simply struggling to list many factual workable parts of LRH admin tech, and not just small bits like “the concept of the ideal scene” or “bits and pieces in the marketing series”. I am looking for whole parts that have proven to be uniformly successful.

Anyone?