The 6-2-10 system, part III: The power of 6

It’s been more than two years since I discussed the 6-2-10 system. Since then I have become aware of some research regarding productivity in a revenue optimizing society. in 1909 Sidney Chapman apparently researched this and found that very large organizations function best with 8-hr work days.

But to be realistic, the people who service our society the most often work very very long hours. Many of them argue that working longer hours really produces bigger highs and more total results. Brilliance in human brain seem often to be inspired by fatigue, hallucination, and as Steve Jobs would have it, some LSD or other mind-altering drugs; Perhaps some products of brain or mind requires certain amount disability(Beethoven, Hawkins?), requires derangement (perhaps myself?), and perhaps requires amputation(司马迁)

Not having enough knowledge about this whole field of study on worker productivity, nor enough knowledge about the physiology of working, nor any knowledge about the psychology of productivity, I would dare only endeavor further in parameterizing the system for the masses.

Obviously, as alluded before, 6-2-10 can as well be a four shift work day of 6-12-18-24, or six shift work days of 4 hours each: 4-8-12-16-20-24; However, one would have to agree that too many shifts leads to too much organizational efforts to arrange all these shifts. Commuting to work for 4 hours and then commute back seems silly. The changing of guards also require some time, so a good compromise for a tightly integrated urban society is 6-12-18-24 system with a half hour break. Effectively 5.5 hour work each day and half an hour used to switch people in and out of office. For the sake of brevity I will refer to the second system as the p6 system (The boundaries are only at products of 6)

Another advantage of the p6 system is that for the most part, anybody in any shift will have an extended period of time both during day time and during night time free to do other things. the 6-2-10 system will have a shift that sees very small amount of night.

A second advantage of the p6 system is that if some one were to plan to work for 12 hours, it is built into the system. Myself I work 12 hour days regularly, and from an recent articles, it would appear that many Americans do as well. So if the prevailing desire is to do 12 hours a day, the P6 system automatically allows them to do this.

The reality of myself is that I actually prefer quiet time to work, so an effective sub-system is for 12-hour companies to buy room for 1/2 of the company for 12 and room for all of the company only for 6 hours of the day. This way, early shift comes in and works for 6 hours, quietly, without large meetings, then the meetings of the day takes place during the middle 6 hours when all of the company is at work. After the meetings the early shift goes home and the late shifts works its 6 hour of quite work time.

But to be a united company, one would probably want a one-system-company. There seem to be something weird about a 12-hour person speaking to a 6-hour person… At least my current company, people who stick around longer seem to get more say in things and is well liked by higher ups, without respect to the actual quality and benefit of their work.

Morale would be much higher, as we get more personal time to take care of our own family, do fun things, smoke weed, farm weed, or what ever.

Hmm, the demands on the general upstanding nature of citizens are higher in this system. Because having more free time doesn’t mean we spend it scheming on how to over throw the government or how to take over other countries… The extra time needs to be spent on activities that improve our quality of our own lives, our family, other peoples lives, and quality of society.

While it is not absolutely necessary, nor was it the original motivation of the 6-2-10 system for the productivity per productive resource (person/office/computer/etc) to be higher, my expectation is for it to be higher. That is, I really feel that a focused 5-hour work day can and will be much more effective than a long 12-hour day.

Life is short, we should try to do more in less time to extend the effective longevity.

Superstars and Cheap Labor

ugh! Feel kind of low having attempted to gracefully sent off two co-founders from evening of fairly heated discussion of our startup ideas.

There was a moment of genius though. There are two kinds of people one would want to recruit if one were to startup a company in one’s spare time, while working diligently, efficiently, and full time, about  hours a day (sorry, just covering ass in case you are my boss or co-worker, and these are the honest truth).

Once, I had a great boss. great guy, smart, funny, easygoing, and very handsome, impeccably dressed, hair-gelling, hybrid-driving, latte-drinking, Stanford PhD’ing, boss… He has this constant preoccupation with recruiting “superstars”. At the time, I didn’t really have any appreciation for this concept of what a superstar is and what  he does and why my boss really really wants to recruit them. (I mean, weren’t I super enough for you? ;~(….

So now come a time when I consider organizing my own thing. and suddenly it hits me. There was a second type of recruiting that he did, which was that he had a lot of cheap engineers (one of which I was, apparently… not as cheap as most, but still, not superstar pay-grade at the time). There were quite a lot of cheap labors in our group under my boss’s organization. And constantly he seeks superstars.

When it come time for me to make these considerations, suddenly I feel that I have bifurcated desire. One the one hand. I really want to have a coupla people who doesn’t need a lot of pampering (and salary/options, but let that be said parenthetically). You know, the guys who are experienced enough to just hunker down and type out code, and doesn’t demand being praised/bonused/paraded in front of the team for all the accomplishments.

But on the other hand, I find myself unthinkingly wanting. I want a person who takes larger than deserved pride in even one line of code written. I want a guy who types

printf(“hello world!”);

and stands up and raises his fist and says to the team: “Hello!” as if he has lifted the world and spun it around the sun.

I am uncertain where this desire stems. Perhaps due to my own vanity. Certainly there are times when I write a recursion and feel like I am one of a thousand people in the world who can do that. And be that as it possibly may(perhaps around 50k? Interview question after solving a problem: estimate the number of people who in similar situation can write that code), the swell of pride and happiness and relief and forgetting all else, so overwhelming, so high, better than drugs, and cheaper too… 

I want a person like that. Because we would agree on the same thing and s/he would shine and design things according to principles, efficiency, robustness, maintainability, marketability, big-O’s, k-factors, r-naughts, and whatnots. And it would be a superstar who can make things happen when I need it and the way I need it, and most important to me: Make the world spin for us.

Thus, this leaves us with two types of recruitment, forsaking many acceptable social standards and enforcible laws: Cheap labor and Super stars!

  • I need Cheap Labor, and
  • I need Superstars!

And who amongst you think you don’t, must be running a fool’s errand.

Anyway, the core issue here is actually not the existence of this bifurcation but what is fair compensation. All men are created equal, and for the most part, on the average, they work as hard as one another. And I expect each to even if they are cheap or super.

And the question remaining frozen in the airspace in my living room: should they be compensated differently??