Fact #1: My Uber rating is 4.97, n=lots and lots of rides (I may be sarcastic, but people seem to enjoy my conversation)
Fact #2: I’m a former US Army Officer
Fact #3: I was an intern at Google
Fact #4: The US Army is more Sobol than Google
When I tell people that Sobol is trying to remove strict hierarchy from day-to-day business operations, they say something like, “Weren’t you in the Army? Isn’t that the most rigid working environment ever devised by mankind?”
I reply, “Oh no, I had much more autonomy in the Army than at Google.” Or, “Oh no, the US Army is way more Sobol than Google.”
I was a Soldier once. While in the Army, I met leaders with varying degrees of competence. As in any distribution of people, some individuals seemed incapable of complex reasoning or simple cause/effect understanding. Many others were resilient, determined, and encouraging.
After the Army, I went to business school. Almost immediately, I became concerned about my ability to climb the corporate ladder. Politicking and networking purely for the sake of networking were not my forte. Not because I was necessarily bad at them, but because no psychiatrist had ever diagnosed me with sociopathic tendencies. As such, I’ve been a bit disgusted by ‘the game’ since then. But the required politicking of business school did land me an internship at Google. I quickly became disillusioned (which we will discuss), left for the ‘real world,’ and began my civilian life a bit lost.
Then I discovered blockchain and the importance of decentralization. After reading Frederick Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations, I became determined to bring self-managed teams to the masses. And, luckily, met a few nice Canadians who were equally determined.
The emergence of blockchain technologies is paving the way towards the upheaval of more than just incumbent financial institutions. [Yes, I know the trough of hyperbolic disillusionment after falling down the blockchain rabbit hole is much deeper than many of us expected. But this tech isn’t going away, and neither is my faith in its potential]. The way businesses interact with customers and the way people interact with each other is based on legacy systems which the emergence of the existing internet didn’t really disrupt, just digitized. In fact, one could argue the internet worsened the way people interact. The internet made ineffective and harmful communication scalable, impersonable, and anonymous.
Having committed myself to decentralization and to Sobol, I look back at my time in the Army and at Google. Comparing the experiences make me acutely aware of the negative effects of corporatism, inauthenticity, and the lack of humanism in the workplace. Unlike the US Army, and unlike Sobol, Google isn’t genuine, diverse, or human.