Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-May-2008
Software development projects for Moody's, Digimarc, Y2K, DEC further illuminate Gen-X nihilism

Web Log - May, 2008

Software development projects for Moody's, Digimarc, Y2K, DEC further illuminate Gen-X nihilism

As Boomers and Gen-Xers have taken charge, software development standards have suffered.

Related Articles

The housing bubble began in 1995.: This means that the housing crisis will last for almost another decade.... (8-Sep-2009)
Laughable SEC report on Madoff absolves SEC management of blame: "Confusion" and "inexperience" of young SEC staff members are blamed.... (6-Sep-2009)
Stories of massive generational fraud and corruption continue to pour out: Long-time readers of this web site know how much my life... (14-Apr-2009)
The economy, the stimulus plan and the budget plan all continue to unravel: Markets keep falling as world economic trends continue to plunge.... (2-Mar-2009)
Neil Howe calls Early Gen-Xers the "dumbest generation": I disagree - Boomers are the dumbest generation.... (10-Dec-2008)
'Liberation Hero' Robert Mugabe now destroys Zimbabwe with cholera: Adding to his record of mass torture, slaughter and economic destruction,... (8-Dec-2008)
A generational view of China's growing melamine food disaster: On Thursday, the FDA issued a nationwide alert, banning Chinese dairy products... (17-Nov-2008)
How Boomers and Generation-Xers brought about the dumbing down of Information Technology (IT) : Software development has adopted a Java cookbook approach that leads to project failures. Also: How Digimarc Corp. self-destructed with management's cookbook programming mentality. (1-Jul-2008)
Questions for readers: Managing Boomers vs Generation-X in the workplace.: Also an ethics question: When do you tell the boss that the project is crashing and burning?... (5-Jun-2008)
Teen "emo subculture" creating violent fault line in Mexico City: The depressive 'emotive' music style is also being blamed for suicides in Europe.... (25-May-2008)
Software development projects for Moody's, Digimarc, Y2K, DEC further illuminate Gen-X nihilism: As Boomers and Gen-Xers have taken charge, software development standards have suffered.... (23-May-2008)
China and Taiwan: Understanding two different war paradigms: None of Obama, Clinton or McCain have any idea of this.... (23-Apr-08)
NY Governor Elliot Spitzer: A Generation-Xer gets his comeuppance: Rarely has someone's fall from grace been met with so much glee.... (12-Mar-08)
Reader comments on the Nihilism of Generation-X: Who's more at fault for our problems - Gen-Xers or Boomers?... (29-Jan-08)
The nihilism and self-destructiveness of Generation X: Who's more to blame for our troubles: The Boomer generation or Generation X?... (21-Jan-08)
Markets fall as investors are increasingly unsettled by bad economic news: Hopes for quick return to "normal" bubble growth are fading.... (21-Nov-07)

Yesterday's news that Moody's Investors Service is blaming their ratings errors on the computer, but may well be guilty of fraud anyway, is an archetypical example of a computer disaster caused by the lethal combination of Gen-Xer nihilism and Boomer stupidity. Moody's' computer software was designed by Gen-Xers who "accidentally" allowed certain worthless securities to be given AAA ratings. When this was discovered, upper management did not tell investors; instead, they changed Moody's methodology to match the computer bug, so that the AAA ratings remained, and Moody's could continue to earn fat fees.

Recently, the news was that Digimarc Corp. was sellings its core license ID business to L-1 Identity Solutions.

This news was hardly a surprise to me, because I was working for Digimarc last year, and saw the most incredible thing with my own eyes: How three Gen-Xer employees sabotaged and almost destroyed the software development effort for Digimarc Corp.'s license id business. Their contempt for their own company and its customers was nothing like I'd ever seen before, and it was made possible by the passive cooperation and incredible stupidity of the company's President and upper management.

In 1994, I saw with my own eyes how Boomers were engineering the destruction of Digital Equipment Corp., but that was nothing compared to what I saw last year at Digimarc.

For years I've been describing the disastrous effects of Boomer stupidity and Generation-X nihilism on the financial industry.

These recent news stories have motivated me to start working on an article of things that I've personally seen and been part of: How Boomer stupidity and Generation-X nihilism have caused disasters in corporate IT (information technology) departments and software development efforts.

I've been a computer consultant for almost thirty years, and I've had close to 100 clients, so I've had the opportunity to see for myself how software development standards that were used in the 1970s have been degraded in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, causing huge software disasters. In addition, as one-time Technology Editor and Boston Bureau Chief for InformationWeek Magazine, and part-time Technology Editor for CFO Magazine, I've had the opportunity to report on software development disasters as a computer industry journalist.

In my own experience, I saw a large development project at Northrop Corp. almost fall apart, and a development project at Fidelity Corp. completely fall apart, both because of Boomer stupidity.

In 1994, I saw with my own eyes how Digital Equipment Corp. -- the entire company -- fell apart because of Boomer stupidity.

At another client, I saw a large multi-million dollar internet infrastructure project collapse, because of Gen-X nihilism.

These examples from the IT industry parallel the destruction of the financial industry. The symptoms are always the same: destructive, nihilistic behavior by Generation-Xers, supported and condoned by Boomer managers for their own gain or through their own stupidity.

It's my expectation that Moody's will not survive as a company in anything like its current form, with anything like its current management. Bear Stearns is not going to survive, and I would be surprised if Citibank survived. In the IT field, Digital Equipment Corp. did not survive, and it's highly doubtful that Digimarc will survive.

Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz (right) looks through binoculars with the lens cap on. On the left is the army's new Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. They're reviewing a military drill in the Golan Heights. (Feb 2007) <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz (right) looks through binoculars with the lens cap on. On the left is the army's new Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. They're reviewing a military drill in the Golan Heights. (Feb 2007) (Source:

What these managers are exhibiting is what I've been calling "lenscap stupidity." This refers to a February, 2007, photo showing Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz spending a half-hour military briefing looking through binoculars with the lenscap on. How stupid do you have to be to keep looking through binoculars with the lenscap on?

Looking at facts through binoculars with the lenscap on has several advantages. It lets you imagine any facts you want, and ignore any facts you don't like. That's why the 2006 war with Hizbollah was so disastrous for Israel -- what do you expect when the Defense Minister looks at the war through binoculars with the lenscap on?

And that's why Digital Equipment Corp. and Bear Stearns collapsed, and why Citibank and Digimarc are likely to collapse. A company cannot survive, with or without Gen-Xers, when upper management looks at facts through binoculars with the lenscap on.

Even if a company doesn't entirely disappear, there can be huge losses. Bear Stearns had to be saved by the Fed, Moody's faces criminal charges, and Digimarc was forced to sell off its license id business to L-1 Identity Solutions.

In the next month, I'm going to write an article targeted to CFOs, CEOs and CIOs on the degradation of software development standards since the 1970s, and what must be done about it. Here's the conclusion:

The failure to manage Gen-Xer nihilism and and Boomer stupidity is, by far, the greatest risk factor in software development today. Upper management must be aware of this issue, and must manage it, or face additional software disasters.

The successful Y2K project

Something that motivated me to work on that article was a blog comment critical of me and this web site that I accidentally discovered while I was surfing.

This was in a blog entry that appeared in April. In the comment section, one person posted a link to an article on my web site.

Another person, going by the handle "Zebra," posted an extremely contemptuous response. The first paragraph of Zebra's response was as follows:

"The people who are shrieking about the tens of trillions of dollars of derivatives are either stupid of have an agenda. I liken them to the Y2K doomsayers. Yes, there was a code issue that required attention prior to the year 2000. Everyone knew this and knew how to make the required changes. Of course, we know about the horrible catastrophe that occurred on January 1, 2000 (sarcasm off)."

The Y2K problem was a massive software bug that was in trillions of lines of computer code written in the 1970s. Dates were represented in 6 digits: for example, 781023 stood for 1978-10-23. The problem was that millions of computer programs would fail in the year 2000 (Y2K) because 001023 would be interpreted as 1900-10-23, rather than 2000-10-23.

I was heavily involved in Y2K in two different ways: as a software systems developer, and as a technology journalist for InformationWeek Magazine and CFO Magazine. So I was very familiar with Y2K, and it was a huge deal.

This was a problem that was managed by people from the Boomer and Silent generations. It was a HUGE worldwide problem, but it was tackled successfully. Thousands of programmers around the world worked to solve this problem, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. It was one of the greatest technical accomplishments in the history of the world, comparable to the building of the pyramids.

So here we have "Zebra," who obviously knows nothing about the situation, sarcastically referring to "Y2K doomsayers," and criticizing them because no "horrible catastrophe" ever occurred. Well, the reason that no horrible catastrophe ever occurred was because THE Y2K PROJECT WAS SUCCESSFUL!!!!

This illuminates the problem. Like many Gen-Xers, Zebra is very contemptuous of Boomers, and thinks they're full of crap. These Gen-Xers complain that Boomers never accomplish anything. Well, they accomplished the Y2K solution, but Zebra thinks Boomers are still full of crap because there was no "horrible catastrophe."

If Zebra's peers had been in charge at that time, then there WOULD have been a "horrible catastrophe," since people like Zebra are really stupid. Fortunately, the Silents and the Boomers were in charge, and we got the job done.

What this example actually shows is that it's people like Zebra who are full of crap, not Boomers.

That was only part of Zebra's posting. Here's the next paragraph of her message:

"The overwhelming majority of derivatives are used to manage risk. While I agree that Level 3 asset accounting is bizarre and easy to manipulate, value loss events associated with writedowns typically trigger counterparty payments in the nature of a margin call for a borrower against stocks to put the asset values in balance with the associated liabilities according to the contract formula."

Here Zebra shows as much ignorance as she did with respect to the Y2K problem. She uses words like "overwhelming majority" and "typically" to indicate that the problem is very small. What she's incapable of grasping, however, is that there are $700 trillion of credit derivatives around, and if the "overwhelming majority" -- say 90% -- are perfectly OK, then the other 10% are worth $70 trillion, while the GDP of the entire world is only $45 trillion. A collapse of $70 trillion in credit derivatives is an incredible disaster. Even if it's 1% -- or $7 trillion -- then the collapse of that volume of credit derivatives is a worldwide financial crisis.

The next paragraph of her posting was this:

"To read the hysterical rants of some of “the-sky-is-falling” crowd is amusing. I have never found a better barometer of macroeconomic financial condition than the market. It is speaking loudly now that the worst of the credit pinch is over and that the worst of the excesses (particularly subprime residential real estate mortgage lending) have been managed or adequately reserved for (by a combination of asset writedowns and new capital infusions). I am in agreement with those who see a second half recovery, especially in financial stocks."

Zebra is apparently so dumb that she doesn't know that there have been huge stock market crashes in the past, or she wouldn't have said, "I have never found a better barometer of macroeconomic financial condition than the market." Obviously, the market was wrong just prior to the 1929 crash. What could she possibly have been thinking?

Obviously she wasn't thinking, and that's the problem with Gen-Xers when they engage in their favorite sport of hating Boomers.

It's Gen-Xers like Zebra who destroyed companies like Bear Stearns, Citibank and Digimarc.

You know, Boomers are twenty years older than Gen-Xers, on the average, and so have twenty years more experience and wisdom. No one criticizes Boomers more than I do, and it's true that they can't lead or govern and they make up facts. But it's not true that they've done nothing. They've done a lot more than Gen-Xers have done so far -- twenty years worth more.

Nihilistic Gen-Xers have caused a number of disasters in finance and IT. Next year, Gen-Xers in Washington DC may cause disasters in government, comparable to the Pearl Harbor disaster.

And so, I'll quote one more blog comment directed at me:

"Took a very quick look at your web site, less then 3 seconds to be exact and it is clear to me that your main goal for posting all that drivel and you mastery predictive powers is to sell your book. You are in my view one of the snake oil sales men of days gone by. TTFN, I ain't buying that crap."

Well, anyone familiar with this web site knows that I provide it as a public service, for those who wish to prepare for what's coming. I sell about a dozen books at year, pretty much at cost, and anyway, the entire text of the book can be read for free online.

But this is what passes for deep thought among many Gen-Xers. "3 seconds to be exact" -- that's all it took this person to conclude that this Boomer was full of crap.

As I've said before, Boomers are bad, but Gen-Xers are worse. You think that we're full of crap and that you'll be cleaning up after our mistakes, but you'll actually be making one huge blunder after another. Motivated by fury and anger at Boomers for doing nothing, you'll rush in to "do something", and the things you do will be disastrous -- lead to world war, lead to financial disaster. Your generation's utter contempt for everything that came before you, and your recklessly eager willingness to destroy it, will backfire on you and lead you to desperation and self-destruction.

We're already seeing that with the disastrous results of the "financial engineering" that was implemented by Xers under the nose of Boomers, and I've also described it in disastrous software projects in the computer industry. For Gen-Xers who even survive the next 10 years, you'll come out of it bitter and angry. And it won't be the Boomers who'll be blamed or remembered for these disasters. You'll be blamed.

So I'm just going to say to Gen-Xers: Learn to think. If you're reaching decisions in "three seconds, to be exact," then you aren't thinking. Otherwise, you will be the victims of your own disasters. (23-May-2008) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.