Feb 09

PMH CEO Brian Tierney’s Leadership Lunch at the University of Pennsylvania

I was unable to attend Tierney’s Wharton Leadership Lunch at the University of Pennsylvania.   Fortunately, I am a close friend with someone who did.   This anonymous writer is well grounded in the disciplines of business, politics, economics, and the business of journalism.

These are his thoughts, presented without any of my commentary (previously).

Brian Tierney — CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings, CEO and Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and CEO of The Philadelphia Daily News — visited the University of Pennsylvania today for a “Leadership Lunch” with undergraduate students. He arrived 20 minutes late, bustling and jovial, no apology. His public relations background shows; he is an optimistic, outsized media personality, all confident and energetic. He uses the pronouns “my” and “I” often, very few references to the credit due his employees or co-investors — except editor William Marimow, to whom we will return. (Perhaps, given the current state of the company, they are grateful that he takes all the credit.)

Tierney opened with a brief biography, then segued into the challenges of the Inquirer and Daily News. Continue reading →

May 08

Daily Links

Apr 08

The Returning Importance of Philosophy

In two separate venues, one academic, the other personal, I’ve discussed how many of the decisions have focused not on technological solutions, but instead have centered on the social or psychological impact of technological interventions.   More appropriately, the conversations revolve around our worldview and how we think things are and should be – basically a philosphical conversation.   What is the nature of man?

I was surprised to see that today’s most emailed article at the New York Times (via Open Culture) was an article saying just that – not surprised that philosophy is becoming increasingly important, but surprised to see that many others feel the same way.

Post-enlightenment, we’ve been following a path of increasing reductionism, predictably causing chaos when we try to scale-up our interventions based on our learnings (due to unexpected consequences from interventions, due to chaos- and systems theory).   Post-industrial age, this has largely been technology driven, and post-World War II, that same reductionistic train mindset applied in the domain of physical science, biology, and technology was then applied towards the social sciences and the world of business, such as management, economics, marketing, and the like, failing to account for those same unexpected consequences.

Scholars and Rogues has had a great (now) 5-part series on technology (LIFE and the American Experience, post-Enlightenment, post-WWII, the bomb, and space), as presented in LIFE Magazine throughout its history.   At each step of the way in the modern American (western?) Era, technology has filled the gap between what we have and either need or want, with the social factors seldom concerned.   There was a time this was appropriate – that time appears to be ending.   Our fundamentalist Christian friends may believe these are the end times, but its not the End-of-th-World, and much as the End-of-the-World (as we know it).   That which came before may no longer be appropriate for the world as it is.

Now that technology has largely become commonplace, we are no longer getting the productivity gains from throwing more technology at the problem.   A technocratic approach, in isolation, is no longer enough.   We need to bring in the dreaded liberal arts to tackle the social inputs and impacts to our problems.

Apr 08

Daily Links

Apr 08

Daily Links