Still wired

Nice interview in yesterday’s Times with Andrew Pinder. Can’t link to it as far as I can tell – searching for it brings it up in a dedicated window … but there’s a robust exchange on targets:

Will Government meet the 2005 target? “We’ll be more or less there — what matters to me is that we get it right,” he says. “If 90 per cent of services are achieved, we shouldn’t worry about the last few.”

Does that mean the 100 per cent target has slipped to 90? “Come on, give me a break,” he interjects. “It’s about showing Government’s taking it seriously. We could have cheated, come up with broad categories, but we listed every service we’d thought of — up to spraying insecticide on motorway ridges. People should prioritise — and what matters is getting sites really usable, and then altering their offerings to match consumer demand. Let’s go for the 80:20 rule.”

I’m always fascinated with the desire in some journalist’s eyes to have the last word, a sarcastic pop. Something so that makes them think they’re cleverer than us. Can’t figure it out, maybe it’s insecurity. Anyway, this one follows with

Presumably he means the business notion that 20 per cent of well-organised time will produce 80 per cent of the results, rather than any further loosening of the target

Just to show that not everyone’s as clever as they think (with me at the top of that list), the 80/20 rule was coined by Vilfredo Pareto probably around 1916-20 or so and had to do with the distribution of income, not time. By the by, Pareto also clarified the “win-win relationship” into philosophical terms by defining Pareto Efficiency as the transactional state where at least one party is better off, most are as well off, and none are worse off. That’s not what we want for e-government, we need a much better skew towards “better off” versus “as well off”.

Besides, old MSS is way funnier.

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