The tyranny of testing

No one appreciates being typecast, but it’s part of the program to get tested, ranked, and labeled with some convenient label. The one that has irritated me for the past ten years — ever since the new HR lady at Forbes thought it would be a good idea — was the Myers-Briggs type indicator test. This was a topic of some casual conversations at McKinsey, where everyone is an utter over-achiever and accustomed to accumulating the kind of labels mere mortals gasp at: Rhodes Scholar, Baker Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, even a Nobel prize winner or two.

The idea of identifying myself in a conversation as a ENTP is depressing and reduces me to a four-letter acronym, which, to some, is as revealing as saying I’m a Taurus and about as relevant.

Anyway, I digress. What got me on this screed was a recent radio show on Open Source, Christopher Lydon’s sometimes awesome evening NPR show, on the last art of cursive handwriting. My cursive simple sucks, wasted in the third grade at Perley Elementary School in Georgetown, Massachusetts when I completely failed the Palmer Method, was diagnosed as being a “false left-handed person” and then told to write with my right.

That didn’t work and hence I embarked on a lifetime as a writer thanks to my father giving me a typewriter at the age of nine so people could understand my written utterances.

Lydon’s guests included some calligraphy freaks, one of whom mentioned the European practice of using a handwriting analyst to examine a job candidate’s writing sample and deliver a report on that candidate’s applicability for the job. I ran into this practice when I worked in Zurich and got to know a fairly prominent head hunter for the banking industry. He thought it was second nature to request a writing sample and send it off for analysis — it made as much sense to me as asking an astrologer to cook up a horoscope and about as accurate. Granted, I can see a handwriting expert taking the stand to identify if a signature was genuine, but to predict behavior? If I had passed the Palmer Method, and wrote a perfect, controlled cursive script, then in theory I would be about as transparent as a human version of Courier 12.
The Wikipedia confirms my suspicion that handwriting analysis — aka Graphology — is about as relevant to predicting an individiual’s performance as the Myers-Briggs, only creepier.

My wife, who is expert in forging my signature, says she only has to rapidly write the words “Del Chunk” to achieve a reasonable facsimile.

Comments are fixed

Wow, someone at must have waved the magic wand over the corrupted MySQL tables. Hooray! and apologies for the inconvenience these past few days. Now to figure out why the table corruption is occurring.

Update: According to support at, the problem was caused by blog spam. It may be time to look at an Akismet replacement.

Rock legends sue over online concert streams | CNET

Rock legends sue over online concert streams | CNET

A few Deadhead friends recommended over the past month that I check out a streaming concert site called “Wolfgang’s Vault.” It streams recordings of old live concerts from the Fillmore and other San Francisco venues that were collected by the late rock impresario, Bill Graham. Alas:

“Some of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest names have teamed up to sue the owner of a Web site that specializes in streaming rare concert recordings.

Wolfgang’s Vault offers thousands of recordings of rare audio and video music performances collected over 30 years by Bill Graham, a famous concert promoter who died in 1991.

On Monday, major rock names including Grateful Dead Productions, Carlos Santana and members of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, sued the current owner, claiming it was illegally offering recordings to stimulate sales of other products.”

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