Defrag Blog

U, V, W and informational dark matter

by Eric Norlin on Aug.24, 2009, under Uncategorized

Nouriel Roubini, affectionately nick-named “Dr. Doom” for his predictions regarding our recent financial meltdown, has a new op-ed piece out that spells out the risk of a “double dip” recession. It’s worth the read, whether you’re into macro-economics or not, as it very quickly spells out the risks of what has been a pretty rosy market as of late.

The upshot is that the “general populace” is probably about to get pretty familiar with the different letter variations of an economic recovery - the V, U, dreaded L, and double dreaded W. The “V” is what most of us have been conditioned to think of as “recovery” — GDP comes roaring back and so do jobs; things improve seemingly as rapidly as they deteriorated. The “U” is the slower version of that, where you hang out at the trough a bit longer. The “L” is the “japan-style” recovery - where you de-leverage and just flatline for 10 years (literally, 10 years). And then there’s the “W.”

The “W,” or double dip recovery, is what Roubini is seeing a “big risk” around (interestingly, a LOT of defrag folks I talk to - like Kedrosky and now me — are in this camp). The double dip sees us recover — hard and fast for a couple of quarters, and then anemically — only to have our past sins catch up with us all over again. That catching up sends us down again and then finally leads to a “real recovery.”

Now, don’t start stocking up on beans and guns just yet — the “W” plays out over a period of YEARS, not months. And the past sins really are unavoidable (i.e., our deficit spending catches up with us one way or another). It means that short to medium term (09 and early 10) you see the Dow head toward 11,500 (that’s my eyeball prediction not roubini’s), then you see some “anemic” economic expansion in 2010 and early 2011; followed by the nearly predictable storm to follow.

One problem: Heisenberg and the uncertainty principle. Just the fact that so many of us are “seeing” it means that there’s probably not a snowball’s chance in hell that it can play out that way.

All of which is a rambling way of getting me to the point of today’s blog post: we’ve entered the age of informational dark matter.

I’ve blogged about the coming “productivity boom” that I think our jobless recovery will bring. It will take the enterprise 2.0 wave higher. But the term “enterprise 2.0″ really isn’t the right moniker. Everywhere you look, we’ve entered an age where what matters is the informational dark matter.

As we’ve networked information (in markets, credit default swaps, internet browsers, in organizations, EVERYWHERE), we’ve sped up our pace of consumption (and production) — without speeding up the pace of our insight. Result: we’ve got a whole crapload of informational dark matter. And I mean EVERYWHERE.

Informational dark matter in inboxes, in enterprises, in people’s heads, on the web, everywhere. We know it’s there because we can feel the effects of it being networked to non-dark matter. We also know that it is increasing the un-know-ability of some things — and the bigger the “thing” is (ie, the more networked pieces there are), the harder it is to know.

Is this really a new “era?” I don’t know. The skeptic in me says humans have always dealt with this. BUT, I do think that the pace/speed/velocity/acceleration has picked up. What used to be felt in months and years is now felt in weeks and days. Did you notice how FAST the economic meltdown seemed to happen?

I know I’m not stating this well, but I hope you’re grokking my point. The “dark matter” problem in orgs, for individuals, and in formulating macro-economic theories - these things are not unrelated. Therefore, if you don’t understand the bigger issue (the dynamics of networked informational dark matter) and choose to simply get tactical, there’s a damn fine chance you’ll screw things up even more.

And so, my friends, I present you with a choice: Wait to register for defrag, or register today. Registering by the end of this month saves you $595 bucks….and hey, that’s good — you can buy more beans and guns with that money. ;-)

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