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I haven’t posted in a while, for the simple reason that writing a blog is a challenge.  What the heck am I going to write about?  Sometimes ideas come easily, sometimes not.  Of course, I have a day job, and part of that day job involves Cisco Live, which is next week, in person, for the first time in two years.  Getting myself ready, as well as a coordinating with a team of almost fifty technical marketing engineers, does not leave a lot of free time.

For the last several in-person Cisco Lives, I did a two-hour breakout on programmability and scripting.  The meat of the presentation was NETCONF/RESTCONF/YANG, and how to use Python to configure/operate devices using those protocols.  I don’t really work on this anymore, and I have a very competent colleague who has taken over.  I kept delivering the session because I loved doing it.  But good things have to come to an end.  At the last in-person Cisco Live (Barcelona 2020), I had just wrapped up delivering the session for what I assumed would be the last time.  A couple of attendees approached me afterwards.  “We love your session, we come to it every year!” they told me.

I was surprised.  “But I deliver almost the same content every year,” I replied.  “I even use the same jokes.”

“Well, it’s our favorite session,” they said.

At that point I resolved to keep doing it, even if my experience was diminishing.  Then, COVID.

I had one other session which was also a lot of fun, called “The CCIE in an SDN world.”  Because it was in the certification track, I wasn’t taking a session away from my team by doing it.  There is a bit about the CCIE certification, its history, and its current form, but the thrust of it is this:  network engineers are still relevant, even today with SDN and APIs supposedly taking over everything.  There is so much marketing fluff around SDN and its offshoots, and while there may be good ideas in there (and a lot of bad ones), nevertheless we still need engineers who study who to manage and operate data networks, just like we did in the past.

I will be delivering that session.  I have 50 registered attendees, which is far cry from the 500 I used to pack in at the height of the programmability gig.  Being a Senior Director, you end up in limbo between keynotes (too junior) and breakouts (too senior).  But the cert guys were gracious enough to let me speak to my audience of 50.

Cisco Live is really the highlight of the TME role, and I’m happy to finally be back.  Let’s just hope I’m still over my stage fright, I haven’t had an audience in years!

Two articles (here and here) in my Netstalgia series covered the old bulletin board system (BBS) I used to operate back in the late 1980’s.  It wasn’t much by today’s standards, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Sysop (systems operator).  How the BBS died is a lesson in product management.

My BBS ran on an Apple IIGS with a 2400 baud modem and two external 30MB hard drives (the Apple II series did not support internal hard drives.)  Hard drives were ridiculously expensive back then, and I had acquired the cheapest hard drives I could buy, manufactured by a company called Chinook.  I never knew anybody else who had Chinook hard drives, probably for good reason.  I had some of the files backed up on floppy disks, but there really wasn’t a good way to back up 60 megs of data without another hard drive.

One day I had the BBS shut down for some reason or other, and I went to turn it back on.  When I flipped the switch on Chinook #1, the disk didn’t spin up.  It simply clicked.  Not knowing what to do, I decided to call tech support.  I had lost the manual, however, so I had to do what we did before the Internet:  I called information.  By dialing 411 on my phone, I was connected with an operator who helped me to hunt down the number.

A 30MB Chinook HD

I dialed the number for Chinook.  A nice midwestern, older sounding man answered the phone.  He patiently listened while I explained my conundrum, and then said to me: “This is the Chinook fencing company.  You’re looking for Chinook, a computer company, it sounds like.”  I went back to information and got the right number.

Explaining my situation yet again, this time I got an answer.  “I want you to pick up the front of the hard drive and drop it on the table,” said the tech support guy.  I did it, and voila!  The hard drive spun up.  Despite my tender age of 16, I somehow suspected this was, as we say in the corporate world, “an unsustainable operating model.”

Luckily I rarely shut the hard drive down, but when I did I needed to drop it on the table to get it going again.  Chinook #2 started to have the same problem.  One day I flipped the switch on Chinook #1 and heard a metal-on-metal grinding noise.  And thus, my career as a Sysop ended.  All for the better I suppose, as the Internet was just around the corner.

I still have the Chinook hard drives, in the vain hope that I could crack them and recover some data some day.  I once called DriveSavers to see if they could do it, but the request to recover data on 1980’s Apple II crashed hard drives was just too weird for them.  Their proposal was expensive and not likely to succeed.

Three years ago, when I moved into my new neighborhood, we had a block party, and I ended up sitting next to an older fellow who had been a long-time product manager for Apple.  He provided a wealth of interesting stories about the Apple II line, and the history of many of the computers I got my start on so many decades ago.  I mentioned to him the Chinook problem, and to my surprise he knew Chinook.  Chinook actually repackaged a particular model Seagate HD, which was notorious for locking up and needing physical force to unstick the head.  My neighbor told me that this hard drive was included in the original prototypes of the Mac SE, over the objections of the technical product managers.  The business-types who were running things wanted the drive, either because it was cheap or because they had an agreement with Seagate (I don’t really recall).

Finally one of the technical PMs built a version of the SE which had a pinball plunger attached to the front of the built in HD.  Great idea!  When the hard drive got stuck, just pull back the plunger and let it rip!  He showed it to management and they decided to pick a different hard drive.  Good for them, the SE was to be a very popular Mac and the pinball plunger might have prevented that.  Anyways, as I had learned, the plunger wouldn’t work for very long.

I shall avoid naming names, but when I worked for Juniper we had a certain CEO who pumped us up as the next $10 billion company.  It never happened, and he left and became the CEO of Starbucks.  Starbucks has nothing to do with computer networking at all.  Why was he hired by Starbucks?  How did his (supposed) knowledge of technology translate into coffee?

Apparently it didn’t.  Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ former CEO, is back at the helm.  “I wasn’t here the last four years, but I’m here now,” he said, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal (paywall).  “I am not in business, as a shareholder of Starbucks, to make every single decision based on the stock price for the quarter…Those days, ladies and gentlemen, are over.”  Which of course, implies that that was exactly what the previous CEO was doing.

What happened under the old CEO?  “Workers noticed an increasing focus on speed metrics, including the average time to prepare an order, by store.”  Ah, metrics, my old enemy.  There’s a reason one of my favorite books is called The Tyranny of Metrics and why I wrote a TAC Tales piece just about the use of metrics in TAC.  More on that in a bit.

As I look at what I refer to as “corporatism” and its effect on our industry, it often becomes apparent that the damage of this ethos extends beyond tech.  The central tenet of corporatism, as I define it, is that organizations are best run by people who have no particular expertise other than management itself.  That is, these individuals are trained and experienced in generic management principles, and this is what qualifies them to run businesses.  The generic management skills are translate-able, meaning that if you become an expert in managing a company that makes paper clips, you can successfully use your management skills to run a company that makes, say, medical-device software.  Or pharmaceuticals.  Or airplanes.  Or whatever.  You are, after all, a manager, maybe even a leader, and you just know what to do without any deep expertise or hard-acquired industry-specific knowledge.

Those of us who spend years, even decades acquiring deep technical knowledge of our fields are, according to this ethos, the least qualified to manage and lead.  That’s because we are stuck in our old ways of doing things, and therefore we don’t innovate, and we probably make things complex, using funny acronyms like EIGRP, OSPF, BGP, STP, MPLS, L2VNI, etc., to confuse the real leaders.

Corporatists simply love metrics.  They may not understand, say, L2VNIs, but they look at graphs all day long.  Everything has to be measured in their world, because once it’s measured it can be graphed, and once it’s graphed it’s simply a matter of making the line go the right direction.  Anyone can do that!

Sadly, as Starbucks seems to be discovering, life is messier than a few graphs.  Management by metric usually leads to unintended consequences, and frequently those who operate in such systems resort to metric-gaming.  As I mentioned in the TAC Tale, measuring TAC agents on create-to-close numbers led to many engineers avoiding complex cases and sticking with RMAs to get their numbers looking good.  Tony Hsieh at Zappos, whatever problems he may have had, was totally right when he had his customer service reps stay on the phone as long as needed with customers, hours if necessary, to resolve an issue with a $20 pair of shoes.  That would never fly with the corporatists.  But he understood that customer satisfaction would make or break his business, and it’s often hard to put a number on that.

Corporatism of various sorts has been present in every company I’ve worked for.  The best, and most successful, leadership teams I’ve worked for have avoided it by employing leaders that grew up within the industry.  This doesn’t make them immune from mistakes, of course, but it allows them to understand their customers, something corporatists have a hard time with.

Unfortunately, we work in an industry (like many) in which the stock value of companies is determined by an army of non-technical “analysts” who couldn’t configure a static route, let alone explain what one is.  And yet somehow, their opinions on (e.g.) the router business move the industry.  They of course adhere to the ethos of corporatism.  And I’m sure they get paid better than I do.

Starbucks seems to be correcting a mistake by hiring back someone who actually knows their business.  Would that all corporations learn from Starbucks’ mistake, and ensure their leaders know at least something about what they are leading.

Sun Ultra 10

It was four o’clock in the early hours of one Sunday morning in 2001.  I had been up all night sitting in our data center at the San Francisco Chronicle with our Unix guy.  He was handing off responsibility for managing the firewalls to the network team, and he was walking me through the setup.  He’d been trying all night to get failover to work between the two firewalls, and so far nothing was going right.

We were using Checkpoint which was running on Solaris.  Despite my desire to be Cisco-only, I was interested in security and happy to be managing the firewalls.  Still, looking at the setup our Unix guy had conceived, my enthusiasm was waning.

He drew a complex diagram on a piece of paper, showing the two Solaris servers.  There was no automatic failover, so any failure required manual intervention.  He has two levels of failover.  First, he was using RAID to duplicate the main hard disk over to a secondary hard disk.  If the main disk failed, we’d need to edit some text files with vi to somehow bring the Sparc Ultra 10 up on the second drive.  If the Ultra 10 failed entirely, we would have to edit some text files on the second Ultra 10 to bring it up with the configuration of the first.  With Unix guys, it’s always about editing text files in vi.

Aside from being cumbersome, it didn’t work.  We’d been at it for hours, and whatever disk targets he changed in whatever files, failover wasn’t happening. At the newspaper, we had until 5am Sunday to do our work, after which everything had to be back on line.  And we were getting concerned it wouldn’t come back at all.

Finally the Unix guy did manage to get the firewall booted up and running again.  On Monday I called Checkpoint and asked how we could get off Solaris.  They made a product called SecurePlatform, which installed a hardened Linux and Checkpoint all with one installer.  I ordered it at once, along with two IBM servers.

The software worked as promised, and I brought up a new system, imported our rules, and did interface and box failover with no problem.  I told the Unix guy to decommission his Ultra 10s.  He was furious that there was a *nix system on the network his team wasn’t managing.  I told him it was an appliance and there was no customization allowed.  The new system worked flawlessly and I didn’t even have to touch vi.

Network engineers are used to relatively simple devices that just work.  Routers and switches can be upgraded with a single image, and device and OS-level management is mostly under the hood.  While a lot of network engineers like Linux or Unix and have to work with these operating systems, at the end of the day when we want to do our job, we want systems that install and upgrade quickly, and fail over seamlessly.  As networking vendors move more into “software”, we need to keep that in mind.

I must admit, I’m a huge fan of Ivan Peplnjak.  This despite the fact that he is a major thorn in the side of product management at Cisco.  It is, of course, his job to be a thorn in our side and Ivan is too smart to ignore.  He has a long history with Cisco, with networking, and his opinions are well thought out and highly technical.  He is a true network engineer.  The fact that I like Ivan does not mean he gave me an easy time a few years back when I did a podcast with him on NETCONF at Cisco Live Berlin.

Ivan had an interesting post recently entitled “Keep Blogging, Some of Us Still Read“.  It reminds of my own tongue-in-cheek FAQ for this blog, in which I said I wouldn’t use a lot of graphics because I intended my blog for “people who can read”.  As a blogger, I think I quite literally have about 3 regular readers, which occasionally makes me wonder why I do it at all.  I could probably build a bigger readership if I worked at it, but I really don’t work at it.  I think part of the reason I do it is simply that I find it therapeutic.

Anyhow, the main claim Ivan is responding to is that video seems to be dominant these days and blogging is becoming less rewarding.  There is no question video creation has risen dramatically, and in many ways it’s easier to get noticed on YouTube than on some random blog like mine.  Then again, with the popularity of SubStack I think people are actually still reading.

Ivan says “Smart people READ technical content.”  Well, perhaps.  I remember learning MPLS back in 2006 when I worked at TAC.  I took a week off to run through a video series someone had produced and it was one of the best courses I’ve taken.  Sometimes a technical person doesn’t want to learn by reading content.  Sometimes listening to new concepts explained well at a conversational pace and in a conversational style is more conducive to actually understanding the material.  This is why people go to trade shows like Cisco Live.  They want to hear it.

I’ve spent a lot of time on video lately, developing a series on technical public speaking as well as technical videos for Cisco.  In the process I’ve had to learn Final Cut Pro and DaVinci resolve.  Both have, frankly, horrendous user interfaces that are hard to master.  Nine times out of ten I turn to a YouTube video when I’m stuck trying to do something.  Especially with GUI-based tools, video is much faster for me to learn something than screen shots.

On the other hand, it’s much harder to produce video.  I can make a blog post in 15 minutes.  YouTube videos take hours and hours to produce, even simple ones like my Coffee with TMEs series.

The bottom line is I’m somewhere down the middle here.  Ivan’s right, technical documentation in video format is much harder to search and to use for reference.  That said, I think video is often much better for learning, that is for being guided through an unfamiliar concept or technology.

If you are one of my 3 regular readers and you would prefer to have my blogs delivered to your inbox, please subscribe at https://subnetzero.substack.com/ where I am cross-posting content!

A post recently showed up in my LinkedIn feed.  It was a video showing a talk by Steve Jobs and claiming to be the “best marketing video ever”.  I disagree.  I think it is the worst ever.  I hate it.  I wish it would go away.  I have deep respect for Jobs, but on this one, he ruined everything and we’re still dealing with the damage.

A little context:  In the 1990’s, Apple was in its “beige box” era.  I was actively involved in desktop support for Macs at the time.  Most of my clients were advertising agencies, and one of them was TBWA Chiat Day, which had recently been hired by Apple.  Macs, once a brilliant product line, had languished, and had an out-of-date operating system.  The GUI was no longer unique to them as Microsoft had unleashed Windows 95.  Apple was dying, and there were even rumors Microsoft had acquired it.

In came Steve Jobs.  Jobs was what every technology company needs–a visionary.  Apple was afflicted with corporatism, and Jobs was going to have none of it.

One of his most famous moves was working with Chiat Day to create the “Think Different” ad campaign.  When it came out, I hated it immediately.  First, there was the cheap grammatical trick to get attention.  “Think” is a verb, so it’s modified by an adverb (“differently”).  By using poor grammar, Apple got press beyond their purchased ad runs.  Newspapers devoted whole articles to whether Apple was teaching children bad grammar.

The ads featured various geniuses like Albert Einstein and Gandhi and proclaimed various trite sentiments about “misfits” and “round pegs in square holes”.  But the ads said nothing about technology at all.

If you watch the video you can see Jobs’ logic here.  He said that ad campaigns should not be about product but about “values”.  The ads need to say something about “who we are”.

I certainly knew who Chiat Day was since I worked there.  I can tell you that the advertising copywriters who think up pabulum like “Think Different” couldn’t  write technical ads because they could barely turn on their computers without me.  They had zero technological knowledge or capability.  They were creating “vision” and “values” about something they didn’t understand, so they did it cheaply with recycled images of dead celebrities.

Unfortunately, the tech industry seems to have forgotten something.  Jobs didn’t just create this “brilliant” ad campaign with Chiat Day.  He dramatically improved the product.  He got Mac off the dated OS it was running and introduced OS X.  He simplified the product line.  He killed the Apple clone market.  He developed new chips like the G3.  He made the computers look cool.  He turned Macs from a dying product into a really good computing platform.

Many tech companies think they can just do the vision thing without the product.  And so they release stupid ad campaigns with hired actors talking about “connecting all of humanity” or whatever their ad agency can come up with.  They push their inane “values” and “mission” down the throats of employees.  But they never fix their products.  They ship the same crappy products they always shipped but with fancy advertising on top.

The thing about Steve Jobs is that everybody admires his worst characteristics and forgets his best.  Some leaders and execs act like complete jerks because Steve Jobs was reputed to be a complete jerk.  They focus on “values” and slick ad campaigns, thinking Jobs succeeded because of these things.  Instead, he succeeded in spite of them.  At the end of the day, Apple was all about the product and they made brilliant products.

The problem with modern corporatism is the army of non-specialized business types who rule over everything.  They don’t understand the products, they don’t understand those who use them, they don’t understand technology, but…Steve Jobs!  So, they create strategy, mission, values, meaningless and inspiring but insipid ad campaigns, and they don’t build good products.  And then they send old Jobs videos around on LinkedIn to make the problem worse.

I started this blog in 2016, and I never advertise it.  Partly this is because I don’t really care if people are reading it.  Partly it’s because I’m concerned some of my views might controversial in the industry and I don’t want to blast them far and wide.  When I started this blog, my goal was to provide clear technical explanations.  Ironically, given the title of the blog, my first big hits were articles about configuring Junos, such as the article on Juniper’s inet.3 routing table and the article on RIB groups.

Over time I started publishing memoir-type pieces, like my 10 years a CCIE series and TAC Tales.  I also started publishing reflections on the industry, business, and the corporate world in general.

The platform I’m using is WordPress on DreamHost, which requires a fair amount of maintenance.  Overall it’s been a good platform, and I like that I can make summary pages which collect my article series and make them easier to find.  I hate having to pick and customize themes and sometimes I have database issues.

SubStack is becoming a more popular platform and seems to be a lot easier to manage.  The subscription model works well also.  So, I imported the content of this blog into SubStack at https://subnetzero.substack.com/

For now I will cross-post between this blog and the substack to see how it goes.  I encourage any regular readers (if I have any!) to sign up there.  At this point I have no plans to charge for it.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment!

An old theory of personality holds that people fall into two types–A and B.  Put simply, Type A personalities are highly aggressive and competitive, whereas Type B are not.  We all have seen this broad difference in personalities.  Some people we encounter seem ready to walk over their own grandmothers to get ahead.  Like all stereotypes, this is a gross oversimplification, but there’s a lot of truth in it.

In the corporate world, type A personalities tend to rise to the top.  Why?  Because their very personality is aggressive and competitive.  They like to push, push, push for what they want and are willing to drive their agenda at any cost.  They frequently are talkers but rarely listeners.  They also judge people through their own lens.  If you’re an introvert, quiet, or deliberative, if you’re a listener instead of a talker, they think you are not “driven” and probably not worth listening to or promoting.

The question is:  does being type A make you right?  Does it make your opinions more valuable?  I cannot think of any reason why being aggressive and competitive makes you more likely to be correct about anything.  In fact, I think the opposite is true.  If you don’t listen well and are always pushing your own agenda, you’re less likely to consider the opinions of others, which means your decision-making is less well-rounded.

I’ve pointed out before, that quiet, deliberative people, type B’s, are often the ones you really want to listen to.  However, in the corporate world, they are often kicked to the curb.  “He never says anything in meetings,” the type A’s say.  Well, if you hired him maybe he’s actually a smart person but has a hard time contributing in a meeting with 20 people all talking fast.  Maybe he needs time to digest what he heard before providing recommendations.

Type A’s tend to be in positions of power not necessarily because they are smarter but because they fight for position in hierarchies.  This is not to say they are without value.  Their decisiveness and drive are very important to a healthy organization.  They can break indecision and move companies forward in ways type B’s cannot.

The key for both personality types is the old Greek maxim:  know thyself.  If you’re type A, you need to be careful not to be too aggressive.  Listen to your quieter colleagues, accept that they may have a different personality, and meet them where they are at.  Call on them in meetings, give them time to deliberate and come back to you.

For type B’s, you need to learn to speak out more.  You’re probably more respected than you realize, and when you do speak, you’re probably listened to.  Try to find forums that are more comfortable for you, like expressing your opinion in writing or 1:1’s.

Sadly, because of the cutthroat nature of the business world, I see little self-awareness and frequent domination of businesses by type A’s.  At the end they may get people to follow them, but if they’re leading you off a cliff, their drive may not be such a good thing.

When I worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, I started a project to bring Internet connectivity to a number of sites that had only limited mainframe circuits.  To do this I decided to get DSL lines and run IPSec over them, a relatively new way of doing things for the time.  It was a lot cheaper than the Frame Relay we used at larger sites.

After setting up connectivity at one of our sites, the local office manager called me.  Web pages, he said, were only loading partially.  Some of the text and none of the images would show up.

Everyone blamed the network for everything, so I punted him to desktop support.  I could ping across the tunnel, I could send traffic just fine, the latency was minimal, and nothing was obviously wrong.  The network is usually up or down, but web pages don’t partially load when everything else is working.  Degraded service might cause the pages to load slowly, but not partially.

The desktop guys told me it was my problem.  We had a constant battle, as nine times out of ten they blamed the network, and nine times out of ten it was not the network.  The office manager was getting angry, so I decided I would do some investigation on site and prove to the desktop guys that they were wrong.

I went to the office and fired up my laptop.  Pages were partially loading for me too.  Hmmm.  I did what every network engineer does and fired up a packet sniffer.

I could see the TCP handshake succeeding, and the browser requests and data exchange.  It looked normal, but why wasn’t the browser displaying the images?  I tried another browser and saw the same thing.

As I examined the sniffs, something hit me.  All the packets were being sourced with the Do not Fragment (DF) bit set in the header.  Could it be that the IPSec/GRE headers were causing the packets to be large enough to require fragmentation?  And why was Windows setting the DF bit anyways?

As I wasn’t a desktop guy, I left the latter question alone.  I jumped on the router and built a routing policy which cleared the DF bit on incoming packets.  The pages started loading fine.  I left the policy in place and hoped that there would not be any unanticipated consequences.  I never saw any.

Sometimes, it is, indeed, the network.

I’ve been thinking about the corporate world, how it operates, and the effects of corporatism on our lives.  If you’re a network engineer and think this is boring, pay attention.  Corporate culture, the influence of Wall Street, and the rise of a non-skilled management class have direct impact on your work and personal life.  The products you use are heavily influenced by corporate culture.  Why vendors release certain products, when, and how, are all controlled by corporate culture.  When a company tries to sell you something that doesn’t work and doesn’t serve your needs, when the company discontinues support for a product you bought after crashing and burning with it, when companies force products down your throat with buzzword messaging that means nothing to you, corporate culture explains it.

If you work in a corporation, the culture creates politics which affect what projects you work on, your career trajectory, and how you interact with your team.  In your personal life, the food you eat and drugs you take are very much explained by corporate culture.

I wrote in a previous post about the lack of anything permanent in the corporate world.  Everything seems to be temporary, everything is always in flux.  Companies are afflicted by short-term thinking, and short-term thinking is killing everyone.

One way this manifests itself is quarter-by-quarter thinking.  We all know sales people are judged on a quarterly basis, but corporations in general are as well.  Publicly traded companies have to present results to analysts, and thus to investors, every single quarter.  The results are compared against the last quarter, against the same quarter the previous year, and against other companies in the industry.  The results have a huge impact on stock price, executive compensation, and even executives’ jobs.

The effect of this trickles down to all levels of a public company.  Business units are judged by the quarterly performance of their products.  This means product managers are judged by the quarter, much like sales people.  Product managers are not commissioned directly like sales people, but they live and die by quarterly numbers.  As a result, they want to do everything possible to ensure quarterly numbers shine.

Now, imagine you are a product manager.  You have a deal worth, $20 million on the line if you deliver specific features the customer wants.  You are going to do anything possible to win the deal, so your quarterly numbers look good.  Now it probably is the case that the $20 million customer’s feature requests are specific to their environment.  That is, adding the features will help that one customer, but probably very few others.  So, instead of trying to build a product that caters to a broad range of customers who might bring smaller deals, you end up building a product that caters to a narrow set of customers that make you look good in your quarterly business reviews.

Now this type of short-term thinking might be an obvious problem if you planned to spend twenty years at your company.  But instead you spend two years at a company, so you only have to pull this off for eight quarters.  You can put big happy numbers in your LinkedIn profile (“successfully drove record quarter of $100 million in sales!”) and then exit stage right to repeat the process elsewhere.  And the folks left-behind have to clean up the mess.  Keep in mind your success within the company is also being judged by non-technical MBAs who are looking to do the same thing you are.

The companies that do the best long-term are those that eschew short-term thinking.  Apple is a great example of this.  They’ve had some disasters, but have generally taken risks to build products with long-term appeal.  I often mention Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, who while he had serious personal problems, forsook short-term gain for long-term performance.  Even within a company, quarterly thinking can vary by business unit and leader.

At the end of the day, however, it’s Wall Street that encourages this.  Like any metric, execs end up chasing their stock price like a dog chasing its tail.  It doesn’t get you anywhere, however much progress you may think you are making.  Meanwhile, you may get rich, but you leave disaster in your wake.