Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

13 Oct 2012, 10:30 a.m.

Management Secrets of Ancient Rome

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Leonard is listening to the History of Rome podcast and tells me the best bits. Lessons include:

  • An emperor is a single point of failure.
  • Be proactive about answering your mail (paging Caracalla).
  • If the only way you can be removed from your position is assassination, that is how you will be removed.
  • If you set up a system where no one can trust anyone else, then no one will trust anyone else. This will lead to backstabbing.
  • People get tetchy about holding on to their customs, even if you think they're nonsense.
  • Do not disregard the oracle of the sacred chickens.