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