There are several comic strips that I keep up with.  Unfortunately, my way of keeping up with them involves falling behind and catching up every couple of months.  I'm currently working my way back to the present in Non Sequitur, and ran into this strip.

The punchline has Jeffrey say, "So... I do all the work, and you get all the money?"
To which Danae replies, "Of course.  That's the standard CEO-engineer split."

I find that very interesting, on several levels.  The most important is it shows a lot about our current system.  I'm not sure it isn't that far off, for modern-day corporations.  But, for a long time (back when the country was far more successful), it wasn't at all the case.  In fact, it was frequently the case that the CEO was an engineer himself, where the company was created so that the engineer could make sure that things were done right.

But now we seem to have accountants and other bean counters running most of the big companies.  That looks like a good thing, as balance sheets are inspected, but it's actually a short-term benefit with long-term cost.

The short-term benefit is the accountant knows how to make the numbers look good.  The long-term cost is that they generally don't know how to improve the numbers.  All the effort goes into making things appear as good as possible, not into improving things.

For instance, firing people is a sign of massive failure, perhaps on several levels.  First, it means you hired too many people.  Second, it means you don't have enough work to go around.  Third, it means that you're probably bleeding talent that could help improve the situation.

Leaving talent on the sidelines is bad for everybody (except your competitors, of course).

This is one of the big problems that Microsoft has had over the last ten years or so.  Since Gates stepped down, they haven't had engineering running the ship.  They've lost an immense amount of talent, much of the talent they still have is demotivated, and they have no vision at all.  They still make money, but they seem less and less relevant as time goes by.

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