We have already written about the fondness that the Pontifex Maximus at the oracle has of Chinese philosopher Sun-Tzu and his works “The Art of War”.
There is a wonderful episode describing the three maxims Sun applied for the new style of war at that time, almost 3,000 years ago.
Sun was looking for a job from the King of Wu, Ho-Lu, who requested Sun to demo his theories… using women for a change.
180 concubines were ordered into the room where the King and Sun were. Sun divided them in two groups, appointed the King’s two favorites as officers and explained all that about “left face”, “right face”, and so forth. He barked an order, and… nothing happened.
Calmly turning back to the sovereign, who was probably amused with the show, Sun said: “If instructions are not clear, it is the commander who is at fault”.
Sun explained the stuff all over again. And barked his orders for the second time. Once more, nothing happened.
Calmly turning back to the sovereign, who was starting to get a bit puzzled about what was going on, Sun sated: “If orders are clear, but not carried out, it is the officers fault.” And he ordered the concubine-officers’ heads off.
Then the King started protesting, to what Sun gave his third maxim: “A commander in the field is not always bound by his sovereign’s orders”. And the heads were effectively off.
Sun appointed then new officers, and this time the concubines formations worked like a Swiss watch.
Sun got the job…If we recall the last job given by the Pontifex Maximus at the oracle, Mark Hurd has probably got a sort of blank cheque. After all, he already proved at HP he knew how to tame flocks, herds or crowds, did he not?
Incidentally, for those who recall the oracle’s hardware proposition, we think that “Tzu” does not mean “Microsystems” in Chinese.