Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They're people not resources damnit

Had a discussion at lunch with co-workers about the good and bad ways to use the word "resource" in business. The short of it is, resources are not people, and people are not resources. There's a special case: you can use it if you're talking about both people and not people.

Atlassian recently bought Bitbucket. From their FAQ:

"Bitbucket's performance has lagged due to poor infrastructure and lack of IT resources. Recently, Bitbucket customer repositories were migrated from an EC2 storage system to the Contegix data center, the same ISV that Atlassian uses for its hosted tools. Atlassian has hired a full-time IT resource to continue to improve the Bitbucket service..."

The first sentence is the good use, because they're using it to refer to people and objects (presumably computers, routers, etc.), as demonstrated by the succeeding sentences. The third sentence is obviously talking about a person, yet they act as though he is an object. That's the bad use. How could it possibly have diminished that sentence to use "employee" in the third sentence? I'll tell you what, they diminished the *person* when they called him a resource.

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