Sunday, August 1, 2010

how to move Mount Fuji

Let's face it, Microsoft is not what you'd call a major innovator. The company was slow to figure out the internet, slow with a games console, slow with email, slow with search, slow with mapping, etc, etc... Why is it that a company with thousands of highly paid "creative" employees fails to see what is blindingly obvious to others? Well, in true Microsoft tradition, I proffer a late answer.

The company was renowned for its interview and selection process which often posed questions of the ilk "how long would it take to move Mount Fuji?" Fuji-san was suitably foreign object to test the mettle of the legions of passport-less wannabees. All of whom would be required to work out literally how to move a mountain, when the obvious solution would be "not long at all" or " less than a second". While Microsoft sought "creative minds" who could work out how many loads of rock and soil comprise the volcano, and how long it would take to move them, the simple solution requires no more than the shifting of a grain of Fuji material, whereupon the mountain will have physically moved, though virtually imperceptibly. Meanwhile much paper or mental arithmetic was being used up pointlessly to calculate the volume of the volcano. In fact, it wouldn't take much general knowledge to figure out that Fuji-san is moving all the while with seismic vibrations.

A similar question is "how would you weigh a jet plane without using scales?" How lame a question is that? A jet, scales??? The sort of answer the interviewers were seeking was along the lines of "move the plane onto an aircraft carrier, then work out the weight from the displacement..." This is nearly as practical for weighing a 747 as trying to use the kitchen scales, even if you had a handy aircraft carrier - but it is the answer. One is not allowed to use the internet, a library nor the phone - which is so gut-wrenchingly expedient - but one is expected to have a handy (clear) aircraft carrier...

QED - they are bonkers!!!

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