Maturana, Language and Organizations LO13034

Benjamin B. Compton (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 19:36:39 -0700

Replying to LO13017 --

Arthur writes:

> Stafford Beer was employed by the Allende government to establish a
> comms network linking all public and private institutions [including
> public/community access I presume in the early 70s [I think]- this is
> documented in one of his books. The tale I've heard has him and his
> team fleeing from the military takeover, some of the team either
> established Novell, or went to work there. I'm fascinated by the
> hidden contribution of Chile to the culture that I inhabit and would
> love to hear more from any other readers who can extend or amend these
> few words...

> What were/are the special conditions that led to this flowering?

I've been out of it for a while, so I haven't been keeping up with all the
messages lately. The Maturana thread has caught my attention, and Arthur's
reference to Novell is this particular post really caught my eye.

Arthur, I'm not sure what you're talking about. I work at Novell, and I
don't know anything about this situation. Novell was started by a bunch of
guys at a local university who wanted to get low-powered PCs to work
together, so they could replace the expense of Mainframe computing.

My father was offered a job as a Software Engineer very early on in
Novell's history (I think in 1983 or 1984, maybe earlier), but he declined
because they could only pay in $18,000 a year. He took a job for $30,000 a
year instead. I think my Dad is stupid.

Anyway I grew up in the valley where Novell and WordPerfect were conceived
and blossomed. I don't know of any particular connection to Chile. Drew
Major -- and a small group of people that surround him -- have been the
driving force behind our technology (until, of course, Novell began to
make acquisitions such as UnixWare, Digital Research, and WordPerfect).

Ray Noorda, our former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, brought
to Novell the business acumen needed to propel them to a leadership
position (he succeeded quite well despite his apparent inability to
develop a coherent and sustainable business strategy).

After Noorda left our stock went to the dump. Frankenburg couldn't pull it
out. Merengi has worked his guts out, but our stock is still low (despite
the fact that we're a very profitable company!). Now we've brought in Eric
Schmidt, the Chief Technology Office of Sun Microsystems, to see if he can
help save our company. Frankly I'm quite optimistic that he'll do the
right things. I like his way of thinking, his style, and his vision.
(About time, I think, we get someone who can think in a way that is
congruent with the industry in which we compete; it's been torture to
watch management piddle around with outdated theories and ineffective
organizational structures.)

That's my take on our brief history. . .I just hope we can make it to
our 40th birthday!

Ben Compton
"Friends are the ornaments of life."
Phone:  (801) 222-6178
Fax:    (801) 222-6993

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>