June 16, 2011

Keeping It All In Sync?

Keeping It All In Sync? I just read a great quote in a non-business book, Richard Dawkins’ River out of Eden, Dawkins himself quoting Darwinian psychologist Nicholas Humphrey’s revolting of a likely apocryphal story about Henry Ford.  The full “double” quote is: It is said that Ford, the patron saint of manufacturing efficiency, once commissioned a survey of the car scrapyards in America to find out if there were parts of the Model T Fird which never failed. His inspectors came back with reports of almost every kind of breakdown:  axles, brakes, pistons — all were liable to go wrong. But they drew attention to one notable exception, the kingpins of the scrapped cars invariably had years of life left in them. With ruthless logic, Ford concluded that the kingpins on the Model T were too good for their job and ordered that in the future they should be made to an inferior specification. You may, like me, be a little vague about what kingpins are, but it doesn’t matter. They are something that a motor far needs, and Ford’s alleged ruthlessness was, indeed, entirely logical. The alternative would have been to improve all the other bits of the car […]