Posts tagged as: Work Life

Bubble Universes and why good communication is so hard at work

Posted by: Jeremy Reimer on Thu Oct 20 12:05:24 2011.

There is a theory in physics that our universe is but one of an infinite number of universes, each existing in an expanding bubble inside a faster-expanding super-space, never coming into contact with each other.

A similar thing goes on every single day at work. Each person lives in their own bubble universe of their own perceptions, feelings, emotions, and opinions regarding everybody else.

When we talk to each other, our words transmit only a tiny amount of our meaning. When we send email, or chat over MSN, or even worse, hold meetings and talk about other people behind their back, all this extra information is lost. You are working, at most, at 10 percent efficiency.

And that’s not even taking into account the fact that any information or meaning you DO manage to convey is going to be twisted and distorted by the "bubble universe" of perception and emotion that each person is living in.

This is a real problem in software development, where it is absolutely vital that everyone is on the same page and shares the same goals and vision.

Preventing this from happening is not easy. You need a close-knit team of developers who like and trust one another. You also need freedom from interference by managers, who live in their own far more distant bubble universes.

So what should managers do with their time? That will be the subject of a future blog post.

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About me

I'm a writer and a web developer. You may have read my articles at Ars Technica, where I write about the Amiga computer, video games such Starcraft, and the history of personal computing.

I write science fiction novels and short stories. You can read more about them here.

I'm also the creator of the rapid application development framework newLISP on Rockets, which powers this blog and a number of other sites.

I do a podcast with my friend Terry Palfrey called Knotty Geeks, where we focus on the 'big picture' impact of technology on our lives, with the two core themes being acceleration and convergence.

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