(IJCH) Information vs. Fluff - Thinking About Henry Ford
IJCH - Inside JaiChai's Head (Meaning: My Warped, Personal Opinions and Musings)
From the Author:
I am JaiChai.
And if I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you before, I'm delighted to make your acquaintance now.
I invite you to interact with everyone, learn, and have as much fun as possible!
Fluff vs. Information - Thinking About Henry Ford
There's definitely a big difference from what I call "Fluff" (plain vanilla, uninterpreted clumps of simple data) vs. Information (facts wih a purpose, infused with expert analysis).
After hearing yet more nonsense from my friends at the pub last night, something bubbled up from that blackhole called my longterm memory. And with the theme outlined in this article, I not-so-respectfully told some of my pals that they were basically just slinging rubbish that will inevitably waste buttloads my precious time.
BTW, did you know that "buttload" is actually a real quantity?
It's defined as: “A traditional unit of volume used for wines and other alcoholic beverages. A butt is generally defined to be two hogsheads, but the size of hogsheads varies according to the contents. In the United States a hogshead is typically 63 gallons and a butt is 126 gallons.” (https://www.google.com/search?q=buttload)
Anyway, I suspect that you will resonate with the concepts below.
Since I am recalling this incident from my imperfect memory, I am no doubt submitting my personal version of the story only. And I will surely be paraphrasing the actual statements. Nevertheless, you will get the gist of the story and the lesson/wisdom I am wishing to convey.
Newspaper Bashes Henry Ford
One time, a well-circulated newspaper was embarked on a Henry Ford bashing campaign.
They became the public platform and brash voice for a large group of people who were self-proclaimed, fervent "Henry Ford Haters".
Granted, Henry Ford was not the easiest man to work for - much less get along with.
But the Anti-Ford propaganda machine eventually became both ludicrous and unduly vicious. They accused him of embodying everything that was evil; blaming him for all the common people's personal, financial and political ills.
In short, they portrayed him as the closest thing to the "Anti-Christ on Earth" of the current times.
Ford Strikes Back
So, Henry Ford being, well...Henry Ford!, decided not to tolerate the nonsense any further and took the newspaper to court for slander, defamation of character, etc. - in a dramatic, controversial and very publicized trial.
When Henry Ford was on the stand, the newspaper's team of lawyers doggedly grilled him with a myriad of questions aimed to illustrate the subpar level of Henry Ford's general knowledge; and by proxy, his below average IQ.
They peppered him with questions about everything under the sun. They asked questions that ranged from general knowledge to the minutiae of optimum engine design.
The questions were neither relevant to the case, nor remotely understandable to some of the most innovative, genius inventors of the time - basically resembling total trivia.
Why did they do this?
Simple. The newspaper wanted to prove that Henry Ford was really not the genius that many were led to believe.
This strategy was - in the newspaper's opinion - the perfect way to fuel the Anti-Ford movement; validating the conspiracy theorists' beliefs that Ford's wealth must have been the result of illegal, despotic business shenanigans - NOT from any superior business skills or marketing acumen.
No Ruffled Feathers
For days, Henry Ford remained unperturbed; seemingly oblivious that he may well be appearing like an arrogant, ignorant imbecile (which was exactly what the newspaper's lawyers wanted to paint him as).
Stoically, Henry Ford endured the circus show - repeatedly stating that he didn't know the answer for each puzzling question after the other.
Once the "Spanish Inquisition" was done, the newspaper's attorneys were so pleased with the "obvious" success of their brilliant strategy that they all looked like a group of Cheshire Cats after a big meal - "fat, dumb and happy".
But then Henry Ford was allowed to have his say...
Addressing the judge, the lawyers from both sides of the litigation, and everyone within earshot of his voice, he said this:
"Sir, on the desk in my office is a rectangular box with a row of buttons on top. Each button activates a different signal when pressed.
Anytime I don't know something I need to know at the time to help me solve a particular problem, I press one of those buttons.
An electrical signal is sent to a receiver at the end of the circuit.
And at the other end of each circuit is stationed a different subject-matter-expert from every specialty in business.
The panel consists of globally recognized leaders from the academic, scientific, engineering, design and prototyping, personnel management, manufacturing, and marketing sectors.
Their sole purpose is to provide me with whatever information I need, whenever I need it. And they will most definitely deliver that information to me immediately or risk losing their well-paying jobs.
So, now I will ask you a question, just one simple question:
Why should I clutter my mind with useless information that I can quickly and easily obtain, when I can use my mind, energy and time more efficiently solving real world, important problems?"
After Henry Ford asked his question, the courtroom went deafly silent - so quiet that you could literally hear a pin drop.
Since the newspaper's strategy hinged upon proving Henry Ford's ignorance, the judge quickly ruled in Henry Ford's favor.
Any appeal submitted by the newspaper became moot.
We now have a lightning fast version of Ford's box without the buttons on top and archaic vacuum tubes.
It's called your favorite/reputable search engine and the internet.
"Google is like our version of the Oracle from Greek mythology. Never before have we had instantaneous access to virtually all of humanity's collective written knowledge - complete with HD audio and visual effects too!" - Elon Musk
You got'ta admire Stubborn ole' Ford. He nagged, cajoled, and sometimes, threatened with termination his engineers into making what they thought was impossible - "a single-block engine".
Mighty Kind of You for stopping by.
Truly hope to see you again!
About the Author
Believing that school was too boring, he dropped out of High School early; only to earn an AA, BS and MBA in less than 4 years much later in life – while working full-time as a Navy/Marine Corps Medic.
In spite of a fear of heights and deep water, he performed high altitude, free-fall parachute jumps and hazardous diving ops in deep, open ocean water.
After 24 years of active duty, he retired in Asia.
Since then, he's been a full-time, single papa and actively pursuing his varied passions (Writing, Disruptive Technology, Computer Science and Cryptocurrency - plus more hobbies too boring or bizarre for most folk).
He lives on an island paradise with his teenage daughter, longtime girlfriend and three dogs.