Reflections on Peter Drucker from the Grave

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Robert David Steele Vivas
Robert David Steele Vivas


I do miss Peter Drucker. I also think often of him, and Frank Lloyd Wright and many others, such as Russell Ackoff (“stop doing the wrong things righter, do the right things”). I use them to remind myself that it takes a quarter-century or more — and generally some cataclysmic failure — before the C-level and SES/DISL mind-sets are ready to listen to new ideas.

Click on Image to EnlargeIn 1955, Peter Drucker addressed a contingent of IBM executives, praising them for the company’s extraordinary ability to deliver in its accounting machine business “what the customer considers value.” *

They “come to you because of the service you give” in “systems and procedures analysis, understanding of data processing and information gathering,” Drucker told the group, which was presided over by IBM’s president, Thomas Watson Jr., the man who over the next 15 years would drive explosive growth at Big Blue.

Then Drucker added, almost wistfully:

“I wish you knew more about what to do with information once you get it, but that is a private wish.”

In “The Next Information Revolution,” Forbes ASAP, August 24, 1998, Drucker said:

“For 50 years, the information revolution has centered on data – their collection, storage, transmission, analysis, and presentation. It has centered on the “T” in “IT.”

He went on to say that we must spend the next 50 years (1998-2048) focused on the “I” in “IT.”

The next information revolution asks,

“What is the meaning of information, and what is its purpose?”


“Within the next 10 to 15 years, [collecting outside information] is going to be the next information frontier.”

I have been an intelligence professional since 1979; an intelligence innovator since 1988; and a radicalized intelligence reformer since 2007 when the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, today the Director of National Intelligence, turned away from his mission (decision-support) and doubled-down on spending money and helping the private sector — 70% of his budget — achieve profits without accountability in relation to the public interest. He is not alone — from Amazon to Dell to Google to HP to IBM and beyond, we have an “information industry” that is at best myopic and at worst downright dysfunctional.

It was also Peter Drucker who said:

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

We are at the end of the industrial-technical-financial era where top-down manipulation of money and information pathologies help the 1% concentrate profit and externalize costs, all the while destroying the blue collar and white collar consumption class in the USA (that class is rising in India, the East, and eventually in the South), eradicating jobs and consumers with abandon, while pushing Earth toward multiple tipping points including desertification, rising sea levels, and increased toxicity of food, water, and air.

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Click on Image to Enlarge

The good news is that a few particular information industry elements are positioned to take their cash flow and advance what I call Applied Collective Intelligence, for the benefit of all.  Microsoft and Oracle stand out as possibilities but have still not made the break. Below is one concept for Microsoft, the new division at the bottom does not exist and judging by the departure of Ozzie, never will.

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Click on Image to Enlarge

Dell, Google, HP and IBM, apart from selling out to NSA and disgracing the integrity of all US communications and computing capability providers, refuse to get a grip on sense-making. The passive misrepresentation and active lies surrounding “big data” just dig a deeper hole.

NEWS FLASH: 90%, or more, of the data relevant to 21st Century sustainable profit is outside the corporation and will never, ever, be harvested or exploited by existing mind-sets and capabilities. NSA processes less than 1% of its collected data. Google indexes less than 2% of the Internet.  Mary Meeker is on record in 2014 as stating that less than 1% of “big data” is exploited — combine that with conventional obliviousness to the relevance of external geospatially-gounded data and you have a very obese, very naked Data Emperor whose cancerous tentacles extend from the halls of the United Nations in New York to the very best of the cloud and payments service providers based in San Francisco and Seattle, to the rest of the world. The Chinese, Iranians, and Russians are not dong any better, despite some deep innovations on the margins (e.g. in social media).

Below is my 1990's “four quadrants” chart followed by my 1990 “six failures” chart; both are still relevant today. No one, anywhere, satisfies my expectations for gold collar thinking and offerings.

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Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge
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The 25 years and $1.25 trillion wasted refer to the US secret intelligence community. The opportunity cost to all governments and corporations of persisting with ill-conceived information technology — ignoring the alarm sounded by Winn Schwartau, Peter Black, and myself, among others, about our twin problems of cyber-vulnerability and the absence of reliable information-sharing and sense-making tools, is easily on the order of $10-20 trillion, better minds than mine can calculate the specifics. Another  way of looking at this is to embrace the current trillions under management, representing the extraction of value from the public at large, and reflect on what the world might look like had those trillions actually been re-invested in creating a prosperous world at peace in which every human — human brains are our one infinite resource — had a basic income and open source provisioning (energy, water, food, shelter, Internet), ending wage slavery and focusing instead on social capital formation.

Not illustrated above is my focus on the urgency of having a geospatial foundation for all data from all sources in all mediums. At the General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP) meeting in 1988, with Keith Hall, future director of the National Reconaissance Office (NRO) in the room — the NRO is responsible for “speeds and feeds” to the US secret world including the National Geospatial Agency (NGA), I called for such a foundation, pointing out that we would never get to machine-speed all-source fusion without this foundation.  We still do not have this today, the very expensive and non-replicable “caves” at NGA and a couple of other points not-withstanding.  When CrisisMappers is better than anything the US secret world can provide, what we have is a clear stake in the heart of secret IT, but this is also a stake in the heart of corporate IT. The CIOs are simply not getting it. Data in relation, across all boundaries, is the Holy Grail.

The absence of analytic models, and the absence of CIO understanding that the question and the answer changes depending on the level of analysis (strategic, policy, acquisition, operations), and the absence of CIO understanding that 90% of what their line managers need to know is outside the corporate firewall, remains a challenge to those who are expert on the “T” but lack the ability to define, design, and deliver solutions on the “I” side of the house.

We are at a turning point. The collapse of the industrial-technical-financial paradigm is inevitable. From Ecuador to Shangai to Siberia alternative schemes are emergent, but they will be too slow, in my view. Needed is the enlightened intervention of what some call the Black Sheep Billionaires (from the West Coast to the South of Europe), with a focus on creating an Open Source Agency, a World Brain, a School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance, a PhD program that teaches holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering, and finally, my favorite, a United Nations Open-Source Decision-Support Information Network (UNODIN) that not only does holistic analytics rooted in true cost economics at the local to national levels, but leverages the cloud to provide to every hand-held device everywhere the ability to “see” the true cost of every product, policy, service, and behavior, as shown below.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

This will change markets overnight.  Monsanto, Coca Cola, and Nestle will be the first to go, as well as all  those associated with fracking and the nuclear industry . This will also change governments overnight. Transparency breeds truth, truth breeds trust, and trust can rapidly displace corruption and waste.

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

I will not belabor the details, my prior work — books, articles, chapters, and more — even Congressional testimony of little effect — is free online.

What we are doing now is not working. Despite some extraordinary advanced convergence on the “T” side of IT, nothing of real substance is happening on the “I” side of IT.

That is what I want to change.

Have brain, will travel.

This is where we need to go:

Click on
Click on


Applied Collective Intelligence

CyberOSINT Reference — What We Have Stinks, What's Next?

On Intelligence – Ecuador Keynote

Reflections on the Next Data Revolution

UN Intelligence – Holistic, Truthful, Open – Revolutonary!


2007 Amazon as Hub of World Brain — 2013 Clean Movie Has Just Become Available

* Forbes: Peter Drucker and the Big Data Revolution [source of opening section]

Portal for Robert David Steele

Who?  Who?
Who? Who?

This was brilliant, and feast for mind and heart.

You mention this: “Transparency breeds truth, truth breeds trust, and trust can rapidly displace corruption and waste.” Very well said, this should be repeated everywhere, on billboards and in email signatures. But the dark side – the top downers, the monopolists, the crony capitalist anti-capitalists, the wealth consolidaters in the 1% – all know this, hence they have strenuously blocked all efforts at establishing an Open Source Agency. Such an organization would spearhead information transparency on a large scale, meaning the beginning of the rapid demise of the top downer tyrants. Most of the  microscopically small number of super-elitists, like the vampires they are close relatives of, instinctively know light is their enemy – the light emerging from transparency, and that darkness – of ignorance in most of the people – is their friend.

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