Issue No. #18 20 October 2008 ISSN: 1532-1886

You get this newsletter because you subscribed on our website or you have a commercial relationship with us. If you are no longer interested, please use the unsubscribe option below.

We encourage you to forward this newsletter to any number of colleagues if you also CC to so that we can provide them a free subscription also.


A Happy Cog in the Machine by Carl Wright

I usually write about rating and billing techniques and strategies. This is different. This morning I watched a few minutes of a news show where they were interviewing a famous actor. They were talking about how he now wanted to have his life mean something and he wanted to do something that made a difference. It sounded very grand and then very shallow. It struck me watching this that he didn't understand how humans work and what they work for.

I make rating systems and billing applications. I think my work is an important part of the machinery that makes up a telecommunications provider, but I'm sure others see it as just a small part of a much larger whole. I won't argue it with them. We each make our own measurements of value based on our own experiences.

Let's assume that my work is just a small thing. I'm just a cog in a much larger machine. Usually the term "cog" is accompanied by an adjective like "impersonal" or "unimportant". There have been many books and movies portraying a struggle between the individual and society. Sure, sometimes I feel that way, but it's a shallow view of reality.

I was drawn to a "deeper" view of my role when I read a portion of an epic poem by R. Buckminster Fuller [Untitled Epic Poem on the History of Industrialization (1962)]. I show an excerpt below.

Men sorting the mail on a train moving between cities

“No individual may unaided accomplish a railroad system, an automobile
(and the highway implicit to the automobile)
or an electric lighting network of more than toy proportions and characteristics.

The individual can hue wood
and fashion a chair by himself
and this handicraft he has performed for centuries,
but craft skill is ever less numerically essential to
the total industrial population and organization pattern
due to cooperative specialization in mechanical extension.

Informed skill has replaced craft skill and the only scarce factors
in high industrialization, -
besides comprehension of the phenomenon itself,
by society in general
are combined ingenuity, experience, imagination,
- an unshakable faith in a god of orderly meaning,
- and the will to sacrifice self for others in setting the pace,
- advancing the standards of performance

man unconcernedly sorting mail on an express train
with unuttered faith that the engineer is competent,
that the switchmen are not asleep,
that the track walkers are doing their job,
that the technologists who designed the train
and the rails knew their stuff,
that thousands of others
whom he may never know by face or name are collecting tariffs,
paying for repairs, and so handling assets
that he will be paid a week from today and again the week after that,
and that all the time his family is safe
and in well being without his personal protection
constitutes a whole new era of evolution

the first really "new" since the beginning of the spoken word.
In fact, out of the understanding innate in the spoken word was Industrialization wrought
after milleniums of seemingly witherless spade work.
and evolving the new standard prototypes worth mass reproducing.”
I'm handy, so I can imagine making something large, like a car, but soon I realized that I'd have to make a battery, then capacitors for the ignition, then steel, then rubber, and so on.
The words on the left tell a story of being a cog in the machine. While my story and yours are not the same, they are also only a little different. Understanding how I make everything work is the source of my happiness with my role. I get as much as I give in this machine of industry.

My actions and your actions form a greater action than any one of us could create. This is also an issue of faith. I have faith in the effort of others doing their jobs so that we accomplish our communal goals. I work to deliver faithfully in my role of providing software solutions to make others successful in their roles.


We all have a role in larger organizations. We each have individual desires and needs that clash with our roles. You may think that you do your part just for the money, but you're wrong. Sure, you need and want the money, but studies often show that we won't leave a job just because the money is better elsewhere. We like the people we work with; we like knowing that our work matters. Now, I hope you'll join me in realizing that your work is indispensable to you, your family, your friends, to everyone. Cast aside the idea that your "little job" is unimportant.

Tell Me What You Want To Hear About

The subjects that I cover in Rating Matters are driven by my personal interests in rating and billing. These are limited by the breadth of my personal experience. Please let me know about items you want to hear about or you'd like explored further. Send me your requests at .


©Copyright 2008 Service Level LLC
Rating Matters is a trademark of Service Level LLC