Group Idiocy is scary. Very.


HS came back from this executive education conference at Texas (for more information, refer to here), and she had to make a presentation as a business trip reporting.  She looked a bit lost, so I offered her to take a look at my last presentation as a reference.  Later on I casually checked, asking “so how’s the presentation going?”  She answered, “boy, you wrote a lot for the last year! Doing everything in Korean is so hard…”  Thus she ended up doing the entire PT in English.

Hello, more than half of the staffs here, who are the audience of this PT, don’t understand English as well as you and I.


HS had a presentation yesterday.  She knows that I’ve been to the same event and also ran a presentation.  Therefore if there is any overlapping topic table, I would skip that part for my presentation if I were her.  For some reason, she put the same thing – “newcomer’s workshop” –  boring crap out of director and deputy director.  The topics, too – to be fair, this year’s conference topics did not look very interesting.  HS attended all the really basic, theoretical ones, such as “keys of marketing.”  When I attended the conference last year, I intentionally attended all the tables that is related to international partnership and program operation, because (I thought) that is my main role.  I am not saying I did so much better job than she did – all I am saying is she could have done better job, and make it more interesting.

No wonder why the director asked “Is attending this annual conference helpful, in a long-term?”

Make it even better, the director wanted to have the list of participants – duh, and in addition, maybe you needed to ask that before the conference? – and HS responded, “what is that? Ohhhh, that.” I couldn’t help but facepalming. To both of them. Then the director turned his radar to me.

Director: what do you think of the topics? You’ve been to the conference last year.  In your opinion, what’s the difference?

I: *shrug* well.

Director: and about the air and everything?

I: Well, I don’t know how to answer that because I WAS NOT THERE THIS YEAR.

Director: Hmmm……I think what was talked about this year was pretty much basic.  Somewhat redundant.  What about last year? Did we get anything good last year?

I was thinking…I gave you my last year’s PT file and you should have taken a look at it at least.

From the conference, HS took some pictures of the facility.  She also took several pictures with other school’s managers, one on one, just like you take picture with your friends at friendship forever casual dinner table.  Being friendly is not bad, but a. they are not your BFF, and b. you are there for business purpose.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought her as some country chicken who is over excited to fly all the way to the great US of A.

And today, I overheard Yoon and HS talking to each other.

HS: I did not know 홍콩과기대 (香港科技大学) is HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology).

Yoon: Yeah, me neither.  And I didn’t know it was that good of a school!

Hearing this, I am sure they do not keep track of any news, nor knowing that a top engineering school is partnering with HKUST. HKUST is one of the top five Asian business schools, including executive education.  Please let’s not forget HS and Yoon are the program managers of South Korea’s top business school…well, after all, HS could not figure out Tsinghua University is 청화대학 (清华大学) in Korean anyway.  And now I am so sure they don’t read newspaper.  Now they are working on some kind of thing with HKUST.  It is actually Yoon’s job, but I see HS getting called every 3 minutes because Yoon doesn’t speak good English.

There was a very interesting documentary on Discovery Channel.  They had about 10 men and women of relatively same age and background.  Then the participants had to wear a number card on their forehead, without knowing what is their own number – but they get to see others’ numbers.  The participants were asked to pair up as male-female group of two.  Surprisingly, they each ended up someone with similar number.

A Korean proverb goes: people of same kind gather together all the time.  Several of my friends with more office working experience used to tell me how the organization, its members, management and decision-making really changed their original personality – almost to scary level, ultimately causing them to switch the workplace.  Now I really understand everything said above, and I know I do not want to be infected by this group idiocy.

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