A global possibility ... LO7073

Andrew Moreno (amoreno@broken.ranch.org)
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 06:32:29 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO7052 --

From: John O'Neill <jao@cook.dsto.gov.au>:

>At the same time, we have a thread that states that object-oriented ideas
>are useful for thinking about the world in multiple ways simultaneously.
>In practice, object-oriented software development has/will meet many of
>the same pitfalls of any other software development - it is not
>adaptive, it is difficult to change an object-oriented (or any other)
>software system as your business requirements change.

Keith Cowan wrote:

>We have had good success using OO mapping to help people to gain new
>insights into their business before an automation project. Like any other
>technology, the implementation of a good OO system is dependent on the
>people doing it.

On Mon, 29 Apr 1996, William J. Hobler, Jr. wrote:

> Yes, the people applying OO have to be good at OO and much more. Isn't it
> necessary to get the business to relate to and understand the OO method
> and the models it produces. I think they must understand the model well
> enough to see where it is leading them. The model must talk to them and
> they must listen.
> Not an easy task to get cloth merchants to relate to OO.


Selection criteria for developers and customers of OO business technology
and pre-built sets of abstractions could be based on abilities to
abstract, to track multiple abstractions, to generate novel abstractions,
and to generate learning level 2.

The ability _to abstract_ is an ability to class system behaviour at
various chunk levels. This ability, a continuous process, contrasts with
"seeing the big picture" which implies a fixed viewpoint. The ability to
abstract is needed by developers and customers of OO technology to change
the number of people that their efforts affect. [The fixed viewpoint is
part of current corporate selection structures and is IMHO a major
liability of current downsized white collar workers.]

Tracking multiple abstractions is an ability based on the building of
precision internal representations that are translated to external reality
into external, computer based, abstraction/OO models. This ability is
needed for developers and customers of OO business technology to maximize
their ability _to adapt_ to and track the thousands of components of
business models that change.

Generating novel abstractions is an ability based on systematic control of
the process of _constructing_ reality _to create_ abstractions that are
different from already existing abstractions. This ability is needed for
global organizations to circumvent the double bind of enforcement of
agreement in getting things in return for what they deliver to others

Learning level 2 is an ability based on systematic control of the process
of constructing reality to choose between operating realities (mental
models). This ability is needed for global organizations to make things
win/win for all parties involved in the global system. [Learning level 3
could be an ability to choose between sets of operating realities, but I'm
not sure.]


I just read the latest Economist magazine, and I think there are two
articles that are relevant to a series of messages on this list. The first
article describes International Accounting Standards. The second article
describes abstract art. I want to structure my ideas but I haven't figured
out what they are yet so I'll just ramble for a while.

International Accounting Standards are a set of abstractions that differ
in implementation around the world (just look at the different between
GAAP and "socialist system" accounting). These standards are very
important because they are an important means for company owners
(shareholders) to determine company employee (CEO) performance.

Abstract art is described in the article as being very tricky for
governments to tax. I think this is very, very similar to some of Nicholas
Negroponte's ideas on the inability of governments to tax information,
which is another set of abstractions. The article described how a customs
agent looked at a piece of abstract metal art and claimed it was a means
for the owner to get around paying scrap metal taxes. Nicholas Negroponte
describes how a customs agent asked him to declare the value of his laptop
to which he replied "around 2 million dollars" - the value of the
information on the notebook. The customs agent discounted that figure and
based the value of the laptop _on the laptop itself_ - around 2 000

I think some research at Xerox PARC Open Implementation is also relevant.
The research at Xerox PARC, roughly stated, is the customization of a set
of abstractions to a particular programming environment. The ease of
customization depends on the language and programming environment being
used. The analogy to OO business technology is that OO business tech
developers and customers need to customize their abstractions to _cross
cultural_ differences in language, social structures, etc.


I'm forwarding this to another listserv I'm on to get some comments
because I think some of this stuff is relevant to their situation as well.

I won't be subscribed to the list because I'm sort of leaving (no more
telephone line for a while) so I'd like to say, thank you for giving me
the opportunity to learn a lot here. This has been a productive 12 months
it seems for a lot of people here, not just me. See you in a "bit"! Please
send any replies to the list _and_ directly to me at

Andrew Moreno
Vancouver, BC, Canada

[Host's Note: Thanks, Andrew for being with us, and we look forward to
seeing you soon. ...Rick]


Andrew Moreno <amoreno@broken.ranch.org>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>