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Archibald Putt

About the Book
How to Win in the Information Age

by Archibald Putt
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-71422-4, 171 pages, illus., hardcover, $24.95
Available through this site or directly from the publisher:
http://www.wiley.com or phone 1-800-225-5945

Putt's Law: Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

Written by an industry leader in R&D management, this title examines the above law by following the (often humorous) business development of both types of individuals in a Research and Development setting. By examining their performance, the book provides practical advise on how to succeed in the technology industry.

The author, using a pseudonym, details how to survive and thrive in the world of technology. The book follows the fictional business careers of two vastly different individuals in industry. By comparing and contrasting their amusing experiences, business styles, successes, and failures, the author comprises a series of laws to guide readers through the difficult world of technology corporations. Bright, lively, and very funny, Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat uses satire to highlight the author's deep understanding of the real world of technology.

Originally published in 1981, Putt's Law has become widely know and quoted in technology circles. The mysterious identity of the author is the subject of much scrutiny and debate.




How to Win in the Information Age

by Archibald Putt


Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat is a 25th Anniversary remake of the howlingly funny classic on climbing corporate hierarchies. This excerpt contains Putt's advice on the Internet.

Putt's Law was originally released in 1981 and achieved cult status for its scathing satire about the way groups behave. "Every technical hierarchy, in time, develops a competence inversion," says Putt, in his most oft-quoted corollary. Readers of Putt's Law will learn such valuable techno-Machiavellian skills as how to leverage failure and how to beat out colleagues who are always right. The author's anonymity gives these teachings the air of omniscience you want in a rule book.

In the excerpt below, Archibald Putt shows he's learned a lot from bloggers and others on the Internet. Putt's third law of decision making is "a decision is judged by the conviction with which it is uttered." Sounds like a page from the bloggers handbook, doesn't it?

More information about the book, Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat -- and author Archibald Putt -- follows the excerpt. Enjoy!


Archibald Putt Meets The Internet

by Archibald Putt

At the beginning of 1993, the World Wide Web had only 50 known users. After the Internet was made available for commercial purposes in 1995, the use of e-mail and the World Wide Web skyrocketed. Ten years later, an estimated one billion people throughout the world were making use of the Internet. In the United States, well over half the people were connected to the Internet, and half of those spent more than three hours per day online.

Already, some people were going online to obtain all their information and merchandise and to conduct most of their business and social life. They were caught in the Web. Somewhat surprisingly, studies revealed that technocrats who were caught in the Web were more likely to be successful than those who were not. At stated by Putt's Paradox:

The more firmly you are caught in the Web,
the faster you can outpace your competition.

The pace of business has quickened. Communications, which a few years earlier would have been sent by "snail mail," are now sent by e-mail. Responses are typically received the same day, often within minutes. Even people at lunch or on vacation can review their e-mail by cell phone and respond immediately.

There is no time for ambitious technocrats to look beyond the Web for information, and there is no time for serious reflection between communications. The results can be disastrous. Nevertheless, the Law of Internet Usage continues to be affirmed:

Failure to keep up with the Internet
leads to failure in the race for success.

Early users of the Web were primarily scientists and engineers who shared technical information. People who shared social or religious views soon formed Web sites, as did men and women seeking marriage prospects. Web sites were also formed by politically active groups, including terrorist organizations. There are sites for people interested in cannibalism or group suicide, and sites offering pornography have long been among the most popular and financially rewarding. Indeed, there are Web sites that cater to every imaginable human desire. According to an Internet Truism:

If somewhere it is so,
it is more so on the Internet.

Even many popular Web sites engage in ethically questionable activities. One of the more common is placing adware or spyware in a Web-site visitor's hard drive to obtain personal information. Of greater concern is outright fraud and theft practiced intentionally by bogus Web sites and unintentionally by legitimate sites that are victimized by the crafty thieves and hooligans who pervade the Internet.

The popularity of the Internet has made it attractive to organizations that send spam. These unsolicited communications are now the major part of Internet traffic. They are inexpensive for senders but costly to service providers and time-consuming to users. In addition to selling products and services or swindling naive people out of their savings, spam may contain malicious software programs, designed to disable the recipient's computer.

Viruses and worms on the Internet are estimated to cost users and service providers over $100 billion a year, primarily in lost productivity. Government agencies and large corporations are increasingly active in attempting to protect individuals and the nation's infrastructure from cyber attacks.

Aware of these and many other risks, some individuals and groups have resisted getting involved in the Web. Nevertheless, the Web continues to grow. Valuable information and services lure people in, and there are not- so-subtle pressures from airlines and other vendors that are reducing their operating costs by replacing person-to- person services with Web-based transactions. It is only a matter of time before everyone will be caught in the Web. Once inside, the Law of the Web is self-evident:

There is no escape
from the World Wide Web.

Vast quantities of information available on the Web make it possible for researchers and authors to create publications at rates never dreamed of before. Plagiarism is so rampant that it seems socially acceptable.

Technocrats can no longer survive without help from an online computer to collect and analyze information to support a position or fend off attacks from competitors. Simultaneously, their computers must be kept up-to-date with the latest hardware and software to protect against the onslaught of computers maliciously programmed to do them harm.

It is comforting to know that, even in the seemingly lawless realm of the Internet, all the laws, corollaries, and tools of the trade discussed in this book apply. It is less comforting to know that the law of the jungle has been replaced by the Law of the Internet:

Survival on the Internet always requires
better hardware and software than you have.

Copyright ©2006 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this file as long as the contents are not changed and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.

About the Author

Archibald Putt is the pseudonym of a man whose contributions in science, engineering, and R&D management are well known. He has served on government advisory committees, managed basic and applied research, and held executive positions in a large multinational corporation. He received his PhD degree from a leading institute of technology and has served as president of an international technical society. He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles.


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