Cultural Stereotypes, Matching Engines and an Oscar

Normally I’m not that fond of using cultural stereotypes, but nevertheless prompted by a conversation lately (and inspired by the Oscar show) I came to think about the following scenarios:

Indian Style

I have heard that in India you don’t say no if someone asks you to do something. So a Bollywood story could be:

A boss calls in a product manger. He asks him to make a data matching engine that produces no false positives and no false negatives. The product manager knows it is impossible, but can’t say no. The product manager says it may be complicated, but when told they can double the team he goes back to the developers and initiates the project.

After a month the boss calls the product manger and asks if they are finished. The product manager replies: “Well, we have come a long way, but there are still some unresolved issues and some testing to be done”.

After yet a month the boss calls the product manger again and asks if they are finished. The product manager replies: “Well, we have solved the previous issues, but we have run into some new problems and some more testing has to be done”.

After yet a month the boss calls the product manger again and asks if they are finished. The product manager replies: “Well, we have ….

Danish Habits

In Denmark we have a good compensation from the state if we lose our jobs and anyway we are confident that we will find another one. So the short story (we are good at short films) could be:

The boss calls in the product manager and says “Hi Kim, it’s been decided we will make a matching engine that produces no false positives and no false negatives”.

The product manager leans forward, slams the provided business plan onto the table and says: “If you want such a product you can make it yourself” and leaves the room.

The American Way

It’s my impression, that in the United States you (mostly) do what you are told to do. So here the Hollywood story could be:

The boss calls in the product manager and says “Chris, I have got a great idea:  We will make a matching engine that produces no false positives and no false negatives”.

The product manager replies: “That’s impossible”.

The boss says: “Chris, I didn’t ask you about your opinion but told you to make the product”.

The product manager: “You’re the boss”.

The product manager returns to the team. They work hard to make a matching engine with some configurable settings as:

  • No false positives, but false negatives are allowed (recommended)
  • No false negatives, but false positives are allowed
  • No false positives and no false negatives

The boss is satisfied with how the product looks like. He passes it on to marketing. Marketing contacts the analysts. The analysts are excited about the product features and writes about how this great product (from this well established company) will change the game of data matching.

2 thoughts on “Cultural Stereotypes, Matching Engines and an Oscar

  1. Jim Harris 9th March 2010 / 17:23

    And the Oscar for Outstanding Blog Post goes to . . .

    Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen

    🙂

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 11th March 2010 / 17:41

    Thanks Jim, social karma indeed.

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