History of Work, Part 1

Part 1

65 million years agoA.D. 0

1. Dinosaurs become extinct: insufficient collaboration, knowledge sharing
2. Homo sapien Gork discovers fire: Hierarchies and power struggles begin 30,000 years ago
3. Cave paintings: Creativity meets capitalism (admission: two shells) 999–500 B.C.
4. First executive suite: Tower of Babel
5. Human wisdom reaches a zenith: Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, Lao-tse, Jewish prophets, Greek poets, artists, philosophers, scientists
6. Babylon launches first banks to capitalize on all the innovation 499–0 B.C.
7. Julian calendar of 365.25 days adopted, workweek finalized: 24/7/52.18

A.D. 0–500
8. Bound books replace scrolls: Librarians resist. Change management consultants brought in

9. Chinese invent paper. Longest-kept competitive secret; Europe remains in the dark for about a millennium. 10. Also invent book printing: Lawyers eventually sue some guy in Germany
11. Workday speed is reengineered: Horse-changing posts established for French royal messengers
12. Castles become first corporate campuses

13. First mechanical (water-powered) clock appears in Peking
14. Global brand management begins: Denmark adopts first national flag
15. Performance management begins as a practice, as opposed to just beating the laggards

16. Robin Hood begins first workplace benefits program, instant hit with rank and file
17. First pure-play dot-commers, called Alchemists
18. Gutenberg heard to exclaim, “This will be the biggest thing since the Internet”
19. Leonardo da Vinci invents parachute, instant hit with senior execs
20. The symbols + (plus) and – (minus) first come into use
21. First infotech standards war: Book publishing splits into separate industries — foundry, printing, and bookselling

22. Niccolo Machiavelli, world’s first HR director

23. Shakespeare launches leadership development series: Henry’s, Richard’s, Titus, John, Julius, Macbeth, Hamlet
24. First water closets appear
25. Galileo Galilei faces Inquisition for heresy: Business success revolves around employees, employees revolve around top-notch leaders
26. Peter Minuit buys Wall Street and Times Square for $24, eventual home of global trading (colonials’ use of Spanish pieces of eight are why stock quotes are in eighths, not tenths)
27. Business drug-of-choice on streets: first coffee house opens in Oxford
28. Joseph Guillotin invents better way to cut under-performing employees
29. James Watt perfects steam engine, which eventually leads to entire Industrial Revolution
30. Samuel Morse 31. Thomas Edison 32. Alexander Graham Bell have pet projects
33. 10-hour workday established in France (What happened to that?)
34. Night-shift work for women banned internationally (Ditto?)
35. Idea of a “week-end” first takes hold in America
36. Execs hire Frederick Taylor to get things back on track
37. The first “war to end all wars,” like the next one 40-or-so, radically alters production methods, standards for innovation and efficiency
39. Wall Street spinmiesters call October 29, 1929 a “correction”
40. ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) computes WWII firing and bombing ranges: Info Age is born at University of Pennsylvania
41. Same year we read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the U.S. forms ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), which begets ARPANET, which begets the Internet
42. One year before Woodstock music fest: Office of Charles and Ray Eames shatters the myth that, boo hoo, it’s too hard to connect the individual to a complicated business landscape. Their mind-blowing film about the universe, The Power of Ten, creates the model for making the connection — frame of reference must always begin with the individual

43. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock foretells the dark side of knowledge work. Predictions of information and choice overload eventually come true, causing far more root-cause problems than execs care to admit
44. All in the Family does more than change TV. It forces deep social issues out of buses, farms, and lunch counters, into the workplace; Archie’s chair is modern-day birthplace of diversity effort
45. MTV does more than plant its flag on the moon. It exemplifies the best and worst of how people and ideas come together during the next two decades. At the same time it emphasizes packaging over substance, eye candy over true illumination, and adds to society’s attention deficit problem; it also grabs our human soul by exciting, entertaining, and shocking us. Managing the tension between those extremes will be a constant challenge in Work 2.0 workplaces
46. A meter is officially defined as the distance light travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second. Senior execs wowed. Take corporate speed and measurement systems to anal-compulsive levels

47. Super Bowl Message Signals the Beginning of the End

“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!”
It may have taken two decades to warrant attention, but the end of Work 1.0 began one Sunday in 1984. Now, the people with the sledgehammers have reached critical mass.

From Work 2.0 by Bill Jensen
(Link gets you entire book for free) 

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