Matt and Dave

Matt Moore and Dave Snowden have been having a scrap (read the comments) about politeness. It just seems a little incongruous. Neither eminence is well known for being troubled by such petty interferences with direct, startling and insightful expression.

So assuming it isn’t some elaborately staged (or improvised) joke here you have two people who have a very high regard for each other rubbing each other up in entirely the wrong way, and in consequence the original question for discussion posed by Matt (some sweeping advice by Dave Snowden at the actKM conference about what knowledge managers should focus on) gets entirely lost in the sound and the fury that ensues. Clearly, if it isn’t a joke, recourse to “politeness” among people who are naturally provocative is a proxy for “I’m feeling prickly today”.

I happen to think Matt asked a great question, one that many knowledge managers probably ask in their own heads but don’t dare speak out. It’s asking for some detailed examples that would help knowledge managers follow the advice. But it was posed provocatively and the hackles have been raised. Politeness is in the air. The intent of the question is lost.

Oh well. Sometimes it is just a bad hair day, and despite everyone’s best efforts, you’re not going to fix a disagreement or get to explore what you wanted to. I have found that forgetfulness is a great friend in such circumstances.

I wondered about blogging this. And I thought actually this happens all the time in KM and we never acknowledge it. Sometimes people just rub each other up the wrong way, or understand things in ways we never intended, and things don’t go rationally. Sometimes you’ve just got to go home, watch a mindless movie, reset your brain and start again the next day as if nothing ever happened.

Politeness, though… that’s a really good one.

5 Comments so far

Dave Snowden

Specific advise poorly reported with a few sweeping generalisations added in for good measure Patrick.  A mild return comment along the lines of “this was is what I said” resulted in the retaliatory “true but glib”. I introduce the “politeness” as an ironic response.

You’re right though, its a storm in a tea cup and I have no intention of marching off in a huff, better things to do

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 10:39 PM | Comment permalink

Matt Moore

I’m very offended Patrick. You’re definitely off my Christmas card list. And don’t even think about asking to borrow the jet skis again.

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 05:01 AM | Comment permalink

Keith De La Rue

Interesting that this exchange involves an Englishman (living in Australia) an Irishman (living in Singapore) and a Welshman (living somewhere in the UK, I think, at least occasionally?). 

... this being written by an Australian with a French name and English, Scottish and Irish heritage).

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 07:24 AM | Comment permalink

Dave Snowden

I had forgotten Matt was English, that explains everything.  All is forgiven and explained; phenotype follows genotype

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 07:29 AM | Comment permalink

Matt Moore

Keith - That sounds like the start of gag told by a biological anthropologist. It probably has a punchline along the lines of “...and yet their c16347 genes were only one allele different in each case!!!”

Dave - Yes I have often considered colonising nations that are too internally divided or technologically backward to mount successful defenses of themselves. However as my neighbourhood is predominantly Greek & Vietnamese the food is far too good to consider disrupting the status quo.

Time to visit the local Greek bakery I feel.

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 12:14 PM | Comment permalink

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