Alexis Monville (en)

What Spectre and Meltdown teach us about change.

Spectre and Meltdown are among the famous microprocessors vulnerabilities. Researchers spend their days to find those vulnerabilities in the very complex systems we build.

The day before the micro-architecture workshop related by Hugh Brock in this post, he organized a lunch and learn with the speakers Daniel Gruss and Daniel Genkin, who are among the ones who uncovered Spectre and Meltdown.

The complexity of the systems comes from continuously adding more features. The systems become so complex that we are not able to understand fully how they work.

In the session of questions and answers, Daniel Gruss was asked if one particular processor was condemned and if it could be better to restart from scratch. I capture two important learnings from his humoristic answer.

He said first something along those lines. Just imagine that you go to see your doctor. You are sick. It is bad. Would you prefer your doctor to try to fix you or to tell your parents that they should start again from scratch?

Change is not necessarily easy or hard. It is the only reasonable thing to do.

First learning is that you should probably accept that what you build, either an organization, a product or a service, is not perfect. And so, that, you have to put the feedback mechanism in place to learn and adjust.

Second learning. It is not only one processor or one manufacturer. They are all working with the same approach of incremental optimizations. But each optimization also comes with potential flaws. They are also all conducting their work behind closed doors which prevent other pairs of eyes from detecting the problems before it is too late. A good incentive to use an Open Source Way.

I hope you will have a great month of March! Last month of winter for those in the northern hemisphere! Yeap, I am done with snow, and yeap, it is snowing right now 🙂

A friend or colleague forwarded you that email? You can subscribe to the mailing-list here.

A few more things to share:

I had the pleasure to speak at Boston Spin and UQAM in Montreal in January. I used an evolution of the talk used several times in Europe at the end of last year. I am working on the keynote talk I will use for an upcoming event. If you want to have me deliver it for your event, let’s discuss!

To make a connection between the Management 3.0 practices and the Open Practice Library, I published the practice recommended in chapter 3 of my book. What about you try that practice?

You have to listen to the latest episode of the John Poelstra Show in which he is exploring the ego with Michael Doyle.



Header photo by