I was talking with one of my mentors recently about how things work at large corporations. He was telling me that when there’s a successful project at a big company there’s a lot of people looking for credit:
It’s NOT the person who had the idea who gets the credit
It’s NOT the person who executes the idea who gets the credit
It’s the person who’s best at taking credit for the idea who gets the credit
This reminded me of the old folk story of stone soup:
Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot, and a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all. Although the travelers have thus tricked the villagers into sharing their food with them, they have successfully transformed it into a tasty and nutritious meal which they share with the donors.
Maybe I’m being a little bit cynical here. The story of stone soup is really one about how collaboration can get people to do more than they initially thought. But it still pisses me off when the guy with the stone claims to be the genius behind the soup.