Tag Archives: Google

The Holes in Holacracy

An informed article by “Schumpeter” (no first name available), The Holes in Holacracy, included in the print edition as well as online. Schumpeter’s points are really about new branded methods failing.  They are gone in 10 years. (Sociocracy on which Holacracy is based has not failed in 40 years.)

EVERY so often a company emerges from the herd to be lauded as the embodiment of leading-edge management thinking. Think of Toyota and its lean manufacturing system, say, or GE and Six Sigma excellence. The latest candidate for apotheosis is Zappos, an online vendor of shoes and clothes (owned by Amazon), which believes that happy workers breed happy customers. Tony Hsieh, its boss, said last year that he will turn the firm into a “holacracy”, replacing its hierarchy with a more democratic system of overlapping, self-organising teams. Until Zappos embraced it, no big company had taken holacracy seriously. Indeed, not all of Zappos’ 1,500-strong workforce are convinced that it can work…

Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Will conquering Zappos help holacracy thrive in the brutally competitive market for management ideas? There is good reason to be skeptical. “Nine-tenths of the approximately 100 branded management ideas I’ve studied lost their popularity within a decade or so,” wrote Julian Birkinshaw of London Business School in the May issue of the Harvard Business Review. Among the latest cast-offs, it seems, is Google’s much-admired “20% time”, in which workers got a day a week to work on their own projects; the company is reported to be quietly sidelining it.

The Google Count

I recently asserted with no evidence what-so-ever that more than 99% of the world’s population had no knowledge of sociocracy, the world’s most deeply democratic method of governance. Someone might have a method of measuring this, but I have a quick way: I google “Sociocracy.”

When I Googled “sociocracy” in 2002, there were 12 listings by Google. Most were repeats of links to Kees Boeke’s essay, “What Democracy Could Be,” the Twin Oaks community website, and one for the Sociocratisch Centrum site.

On 2 May 2010, there were 56,000. The even number is a bit suspect and some are probably to the same site, but the difference between 12 and 56,000 eight years later is certainly significant.

Democracy, for comparison, returns 66,900,000 pages. Autocracy, 1,360,000.

2 April 2012: 133,000. Quick climb. It took 8 years to get from 12 to 56,000 and only 2 more years to get to 133,000. That’s probably also the effect of compound interest!

26 July 2012: 33,200. They cleaned up their search? Alta Vista has 27,700 so this is probably a more correct number. Bing: 27,300.

20 January 2012: 32,400. Altavista: 48,700. Bing: 49,900.

19 June 2013: 30,600. Bing: 34,100.

16 March 2014: 34,400. Bing: 23,900. First result on Bing is the Encyclopedia Britannica article!?! And the second the page to order We the People.  The searches are getting better with fewer duplicate results.

4 March 2014: 40,410. Page views are up from 651 in January to 3180 in July.

2 September 2014: 32,400. Alta Vista, once considered a more selective search engine used by academics, has been bought by Yahoo. It doesn’t display number of hits. It does something interesting. In the place where there is usually an Ad, for “sociocracy, it has “Ad related to sociocracy.” No ads.

How Many People Know about Sociocracy?

In another post, I just asserted with no evidence what-so-ever that more than 99% of the world’s population had no knowledge of sociocracy, the world’s most deeply democratic method of governance. Someone might have a method of measuring this but I have a quick way.

When I Googled “sociocracy” in 2002, there were 12 pages listed by Google. Most were repeats of links to Kees Boeke’s essay and to the Sociocratisch Centrum site.

Today, as of one minute ago, there were 56,000. The even number is a bit suspect and some are probably to the same site, but the difference between 12 and 56,000 eight years later is certainly significant.

Democracy, on the other hand, returns 66,900,000 pages. Autocracy, 1,360,000.

We have a long way to go.