Start-Up City by Gabe Klein with David Vega-Barachowitz

Gabe Klein is a genius, in so far as he has created the ultimate resume, a book that celebrates his accomplishments, generously adorned with proud photos of himself at public ceremonies.  The book is supposed to be an insight into how a private-sector mindset can change government for the better, but as it turns out, it seems more like government changed Klein, turning him into simply a new wave bureaucrat throwing around cool new management buzzwords and concepts like SMART, continuous process improvement, and Lean Six Sigma.  I’ve read many management books, so I know my share of silly buzzwords and concepts like silos, paradigm shifts, self-directed teams, bullshit this, bullshit that.  The problem is not so much the ideas, just like the teachings of Jesus or Darwin.  The problem is with Christianity and Darwinism, when idiots come along and twist the words of the brilliant thinkers to simply serve their own purposes, justify their actions, and punish those who they claim are nonbelievers.  As a victim of Lean Six Sigma misapplied, I can tell Gabe firsthand that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says it inspires creativity and freedom, especially when he claims that failure is not an option a few pages after he mourns that government is risk averse.  Gee, if failure is not an option, you wonder why people are risk averse?  Duh.  Idiot.  By the way, process improvement and Lean Sigma Six and all their cult offspring come from the world of manufacturing.  Last time I checked, we were in the Information Age not the Industrial Age.  When you’re in the business of creating a million identical widgets, Lean Sigma Six and all that bullfuckery works in eliminating waste, variation, creativity, innovation, etc.  Yes, it eliminates variation, the heart of creativity.  DNA mutates, not because it failed a class in Lean Sigma Six.  DNA mutates, because it is innovating through trial and error to adapt to an ever changing environment with other organisms constantly mutating as well.  The reason Gabe succeeded is because he had the backing of those who appointed him to his position.  When bureaucrats realize this, they step in line and do whatever you say.  The reasons bureaucracies fail is that middle management constantly undermine those who are not in favor of the top person.  They’re constantly jockeying for position trying to crawl up the government or corporate ladder by undermining those they believe are in positions of weakness and disfavor.  It’s all bullfuckery. 


You may think that I became hostile to government bureaucracy by taking some conservative class in business but the fact is, I became hostile to bureaucracy by taking a rather liberal sociology class that uncovered the inefficiencies of large bureaucracies, the bullfuckery of hierarchies, and the dehumanizing effect of large organizations that only respect and value those on top.  Trying to “innovate” government and make it more adaptable, service-oriented, and innovative is like trying to make the military more peace-loving and pacifist.  Government was created to oppress, to restrict the liberties of the masses, to grow like a cancer, and calcify into every groove and crack of our lives, suffocating and frustrating the free movement of people, ideas, money, products, and services.  The answer is not trying to change government but attacking it, restricting it and shrinking it, just like we do with cancers.

 There is no other way of putting this, but government hates people.  Bureaucrats do not think of people as humans with unique and important lives, rights, and needs.  Rather, bureaucrats view them as either big numbers or liabilities.  As Stalin supposedly put it, a single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.  Government loves statistics, because it cuts people down into meaningless numbers on a table or chart.  The noble goal of government, as people are brainwashed to believe, is to help those in need.  I have yet to meet a single bureaucrat who openly aspires to help those in need.  I have met countless whose open priority is to climb the bureaucratic ladder, please their boss, just get through the day without losing their job, or those who sadistically enjoy berating the public for not properly following instructions and rules.  The argument is that those in need would have nothing without government, so why not have government help them.  The problem with this is that people do not have nothing without government, and with government they have the worst conceivable invention that does not in fact help them but harass, oppress, humiliate, restrict, and control them.  Without government, since the beginning of time, those in need were helped by family members, neighbors, community members, and yes, complete strangers.  In return, those who helped the needy received healthy doses of endorphins and dopamine that made them feel good about themselves, valued, and cherished.  Since modern people don’t get these giving boosts, they instead crave drugs, food, money, and likes on Facebook.

 One of the problems with goal-setting is that often goals change.  Countless scientific breakthroughs came when scientists were working on another problem or just doing something completely unrelated.  Countless great businesses started off doing something completely different.  Amazon started off as a book sales company and only succeeded when it became an online marketplace.  Countless great people started off in an entirely different field.  The main cause of this is called the Black Swan effect where multiple things come together to create a new emergent event that cannot be predicted by the complexity of those multiple things coming together unexpectedly.  The book, the Pinball Effect explains this phenomenon with multiple examples.  So while you’re hard at work, single-mindedly trying to make one goal happen, you could be completely missing an opportunity to create a whole new goal that is even better than the original goal.  This is how bureaucracies work.  You get appraised for how well you reach one goal, so your priority is putting all your effort into that one goal, but then you have nothing left to exploit an opportunity that arises to create and accomplish a greater goal.  What if Amazon was adamant about being the best online book seller in the world?  What if Jeff Bezos was a mid-level bureaucrat who only got promotions and raises by the number of books sold and not the number of shoes or CDs or computers sold?  Get it?  You should only have really one goal as a businessman, as a bureaucrat, as a human, and that is to make yourself and your organization valuable.  The best way to do that is to find out what people want and need and fulfill that need, and when their needs change, you change what you do.  Simple as that.  When I joined roller derby, my goal was to be the best skater in the world.  But then I learned that my league really needs referees, so I became a referee in addition to a skater.  But if I had only cared about being a skater, I’d never agree to be a referee, but as it turns out, being a referee enhances my skating skills, and meanwhile, it keeps me involved and motivated as I wait for male derby to take off.  My real goal is to be valuable as an individual to my league, and that means being a referee or whatever they need from me.  Isn’t that the point of life?  This bullfuckery about SMART goals is just that, creating a narrow, tunnel-vision with blinders so those who really control you can simply direct you in whatever direction as they please like you’re some kind of livestock, which in fact is how civilization was designed.  It was not designed to maximize enjoyment for all but rather only for a few while exploiting human livestock. 

 Successful people love to internalize successes and attribute it all to their greatness.  Let me explain something clearly to Gabe.  There is a revolution under way that he did not create.  After wealth and white people left inner-cities, they deteriorated.  White people just wanted to get in and out or through them, so they paved over them.  What is happening today is that wealth and white folk are moving back to the inner-cities, and they are redistributing back wealth and political power back into the inner-city.  Instead of wanting to get in and out or through, they want to meander, saunter, stroll and generally enjoy the inner-city.  As a result, all across America, inner-cities are benefiting from huge money and political power to make them beautiful, attractive, and pedestrian-friendly.  Most all if not all of Gabe’s successes are the direct result of this.  Sorry to inform you Gabe, but truth is, it would take an outsider to figure this out, because the shit-for-brain planners and engineers are still trapped in the old thinking that money and focus should go into the suburbs which are increasingly less white, less wealthy, and less politically powerful. 

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