The role of feedback
In a journey through the rain forest, there are two known facts to work with. First is the destination or goal. The second is the current location, which can be ascertained by means of measurement using a compass and the positions of celestial bodies. Progress is made by taking short excursions, stopping to take bearings and then readjusting the direction in line with the destination. This measuring process can be thought of as providing feedback - which acts to constantly modify the direction to keep progress in line with the goal.
Heat seeking guided missiles use a similar strategy. Every few milli-seconds, a guided missile will determine where a target is by searching for the location of a heat source. It will calculate its own current speed and direction and determine whether its current trajectory will coincide with that of the target. If there is a discrepancy between the two, adjustments are made to the positions of the missile's guidance fins until the trajectories are computed to converge. As the target is likely to be trying to avoid the missile, this process of target location, direction finding, computing trajectories and fin adjustments is continuously repeated as the missile homes in on the weaving and ducking target.
In the environment of the Internet, the moving target would be a goal. An auteur would provide the guidance system and the role of the fins would be played by the tacticians: the experts and specialists. This is where it is necessary to think in terms of collaboration under the directions of an auteur, rather than cooperation under the management of a manager. It is only the entrepreneurs and the auteurs who will be focused on the goals of the project. Everyone else's goal will be to fulfil a tactical function as directed by the auteur's strategy.
Reverting to the metaphor of the guided missile, imagine that the target is moving so erratically that the shape of the fins limit the ability of the missile to track the target. In such a case, it would be imperative to have a more versatile system that would allow fins of particular shapes to be inserted to cope with some of the more erratic movements. This would see the missile as having not a single set of fins, but, a variety of different fins that could be called into service as circumstances required.
This more complicated guidance system more accurately reflects the reality of any e-business project, where there is a constant need to make changes to keep up with changing technology and unpredictable competition. It would be essential that a wide range of expertise and specialisation is available to be called upon at short notice. In Game Theory terminology, it would need a wide assortment of different tactics and tacticians to be included as possible options in the strategy.
A strategy that used a managed team of permanently employed cooperators would be like a missile restricted to a limited number of fins. It could adequately handle a predictable range of target weaving and ducking, but, would go astray if the target weaved and ducked outside of that range. A non permanent group of collaborators would be a more efficient solution because then it would allow a business to cover a far wider range of movement without incurring debilitating overheads.
Such a strategy would apply not only to entrepreneurs and auteurs chasing the goals of an e-business, it would also apply to the experts and technicians as they performed their roles as technicians. They would be restricted to within a narrow range of their expertise unless they had a flexible system of contacts to help and assist them by filling in their knowledge gaps and providing insights into future new directions. They would need a similar stem of changeable fins to steer them towards their goals of competency and efficiency.
Seeing entrepreneurs, auteurs, experts and specialist all needing a similar strategy to achieve their goals, it is more convenient to disassociate the strategy from any particular business context and apply it only to individuals. This is illustrated in figure 15.4, where the strategy of an individual is metaphored with the strategy of a guided missile.
An individual trying to reach a goal or find a solution to a problem with the aid of friends and contacts is somewhat similar to a guided missile homing in on a target. This is particularly applicable if the goal or problem is continuously changing