[R] How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Warren Young warren at etr-usa.com
Fri Jan 30 05:32:08 CET 2009

Erik Iverson wrote:
> First, you should try to figure out why they would 
> not want you to run R, so you can address those reasons specifically.  

Reasons imply reasoning.  It's usually the case that decisions like this 
are made on an emotional basis, not a rational one.

	"All of my business associates use Microsoft."
	"All of my friends use Microsoft."
	"Microsoft is dominant."
	"I like Microsoft."

These are not reasons.  They are expressions of emotional state. 
Envision a person saying such things wrapped in a security blanket 
printed with the colorful Windows flag logo, sucking their thumb. 
Works, doesn't it?  They are telling you that Microsoft makes them feel 

I don't call this vision into your mind to belittle the people saying 
these things.  We all have these emotional responses; everyone can be 
tarred by this brush.  The point is, if you want to fight such a thing, 
you can be as rational as you like, but never forget that your opponent 
is not being rational.  Tell them this other blanket is better, and 
they'll deny it.  Give them the other blanket, and they'll either drop 
it or attack you for offering it.  Rip away their blanket and you will 
face a tantrum.

A true revolution is unstoppable; open source is such a thing. 
Eventually your opponent will pick up the other blanket all on their own.

You can push things along faster with the tools of statecraft.  This 
field has two main branches.

One branch is war.  This is the practice of applying a combination of 
superior will, strategy, and force to defeat an opponent.  This is the 
"rational argument" option.  Yes, I call that war.  Why?  It's the 
emotion vs. rationality thing again.  You're using the wrong tool for 
the job, so your only hope of success is to make the opponent capitulate 
through that combination of superior will, strategy and force.  Since 
the OP isn't in a position to mount a frontal assault, this leaves only 
the uglier option, guerrilla war.  This has a good outcome even less 
often than traditional war.

The other branch is diplomacy.  This takes longer, is not as direct, and 
requires a deft touch, but usually works better in the long term.  It 
also requires a certain amount of backing strength.  You can't hope to 
succeed at diplomacy when there is no possibility of war.  If war is 
out, diplomacy is out, too.  If I read the OP's post correctly, he isn't 
in a position to directly wield strength, so he'll need to work through 
channels that give him access to that strength.  He needs to find strong 
allies, and support them.

If there are no such allies, he has no way to prosecute war, and thus no 
way to back diplomacy.  That forces him down a minor branch of 
statecraft, which I call the Switzerland model: keep your head down, and 
continue to be useful to those around you who practice the other forms 
of statecraft.

There are other ways to run a state, but they don't work.

Reading suggestions for anyone who thinks I'm full of it:


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