Water Cooler Culture

A while ago, I got to visit a software company experiencing post-startup phase. The moment in which the business is no longer small enough for everybody to know each other, yet it’s still too small to have the usual inclinations towards corporate mindset. This time is very special, as it defines and clarifies it’s culture for the next period of time.

There are places where you can spot culture at a glance, in an unusual way. Continue reading “Water Cooler Culture”

On My Sex Change

Unwillingly, I rolled down the window. Police officer standing by my vehicle introduced himself in a regulatory way and then moved into the essentials:

– You were driving a bit fast…
– Yes, I know – I was sincere, which wasn’t necessarily the best option.
– Where’s the rush?

I didn’t have a decent and believable answer to that. I needed to figure something out. Continue reading “On My Sex Change”

The Modern Fable of Monkeys That Are Actually Humans

There was the famous experiment on monkeys. You get five of them into a cage with ladder, with banana on top of it. As soon as they enter the cage, monkeys immediately rush to get their beloved food. But reaching for ladder triggers cold shower.

Quickly, monkeys realize that this banana should be left alone.

Then you swap one monkey for a new one. As it, inevitably, rushes for a banana, it gets beating from the others. Few moments later, it knows that it’s not worth it.

Then you swap another one, with the same result. Then the next, and so on. Soon, all the monkeys are swapped and each of them knows that was taught a lesson.

Which is where we play evil scientist and add a new monkey in. Without a doubt, it tries to reach for banana, only to get its beating.

As all its predecessors, it has no idea why it got punished.
Other (swapped) monkeys have no idea why they punish the new one – none of them ever got wet.
Apparently, this is how things are in that specific cage.

The best part of the experiment?
IT WAS NEVER CONDUCTED.

We have no idea if monkeys would act this way.

The scariest part of the experiment? We know, well enough, that regardless of how monkeys would behave, we would act as the way they did. Just the social element of our human nature.

When put in a new environment, we don’t want to be the one to rock the boat. Reaching for banana is challenging the status quo – and nobody likes that. Unless we’re conscious and deliberate about it, we don’t really want to expand our comfort zones.

And without it, we’re becoming obsolete, as someone competing with us will expand theirs.

Remember that as you walk into your monkey cage this morning.