Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well, that about sums it up...

Let no one ever say he didn't say it like he saw it. Go Steve.
[The following is a repost from Steve Sloan on his website, SJSU Tech on a mission, on 11.29.2006]

Editorial: The evil of opacity

What we would like to do, may not be what we can do (and maybe that is okay)
That is just a fact of life. We learn as kids, "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride." Sometimes it is easy to just keep our wants and needs to ourselves. But, when it comes to what we want and need as a university, I think openness is better than being closed. I think we need to be more open about what we need, we should put it out there, rather than use the lack of resources as an excuse.

There is also the matter of allocation of the resources we do have. If folks are engaged in the thought process I think they are more likely to help us. I think we need to openly talk about where we see our school going and our vision of the future. I think we need to be free to do this as individuals as well as an institution. I think we need to have open conversations in a way that engages our colleagues, our partners and also our customers, the students. I believe our customers deserve more respect. I think our other customers, the public, deserves to engaged, after all, they pay our salaries. They are taxed to pay our salaries.

SJSU is a public state funded university. I see it as being paradoxical that we public servants are performing our public services spending the taxpayers hard earned money and yet we see it as the right thing to do to be opaque. New media is all about transparency and conversation. But, from what I see, that seems counter to a university culture of closed doors, politics, secrecy and overall opacity.

To me that opacity is not right, it is evil, and maybe that is why I seem to be so good at getting in trouble when I state my opinion. I may be wrong often and readily admit when I am wrong. There are worse things than being wrong. I think if you are open about your intentions and you are wrong and someone points that out you have an opportunity to change for the better. But, I think if you exist in a world of shadows and you are wrong that is worse; because then your mistakes remain hidden they never have an opportunity to be amended. I would rather risk being openly wrong than have to be secretly right knowing my ideas will never see the light of the day.

I love my school and I think we should express our ideas and opinions, consider those of others and speak out about our feelings and embrace the collective intelligence of all those great folks who care about us enough to engage in a conversation constructively. That is why I love blogging and all the other forms of new media. It is based on the Internet and the two basic concepts of the Internet: the Internet routes around obstacles and enables communication to all nodes from all nodes. How does the Internet do this? It does that because on the Internet all nodes are equal. On the Internet all nodes are free to communicate.

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