Metrics Obsession

Sridhar Vembu unveils unique wisdom and argues against the trends of modern society. His latest hypothesis into why Indians have mastered “the art of becoming CEO” could be countervailing: link

Per Sridhar, Indians who leave India are well-positioned to master the “measure and manage” culture of American corporations because they passed the world’s hardest entrance exams and beat the stiffest competition to make it into America. Sridhar himself is a product of IIT, Princeton, and Qualcomm. He runs Zoho, a software company with several thousand employees in India. He practices what he preaches by living in an Indian village.

I like the assertion here contrasting the aspirational metrics-obsessed CEO mindset to the premise of the 1970s environmental book published by the Sierra Club about industrialized farming overtaking traditional family-based agriculture. Wendell Berry’s book argues that the agribusiness system industrialized farms to meet consumer demand at the expense of smaller farms which upheld employee morale and maintained environmental values. Wendell Berry experienced this firsthand as a farmer. Sridhar and Wendell point out negative results from optimizing corporate efficiency: low employee morale and higher turnover.

While the remarkable immigrant stories are hard to overlook in the tech industry, there is something to be said about a system that favors skilled test takers and taskmasters over storytellers, artists, and those underrepresented in the tech industry but overrepresented in society. Data-driven engineers, regardless of race, rule the corporate world. Is it a good thing for society and the future workforce?