Interview: An Infinite Number of Monkeys


Mike’s book, “An Infinite Number of Monkeys”, takes its title from the well-known adage that if you took an infinite number of monkeys and gave them an infinite number of typewriters, eventually they’d come out with the complete works of Shakespeare. They wouldn’t, of course, because they’d repeat themselves and probably break the typewriters (infinite typewriters, infinite monkeys, they still get one each).

There’s a good clue in the title about the angle of the book, though: Barnes, having worked in communications technology for many years, is much more interested in communications than in the technology that underpins it.

“I had some ideas bubbling around in my head that I didn’t feel were being addressed by a lot of the books out there on social media and unified communications,” Barnes told UC Insight. “You can’t read all the books, but there didn’t seem to be a book that looked at how different communications technologies fit together to benefit businesses. There are lots of books on how to use UC, lots of books on how to use social media, and books on how people communicate, but they tend to focus on different things.”

Business practices

Barnes’ book is about how business practice has evolved and how people can push their organisations so that they keep up with what is now possible due to technology.  It covers workplace agility, people and machines, BYOD, social networking and a great deal else. What struck me on reading it was that although it’s a good book for managers, the technical depth will make it an excellent read for the established specialist as well.

His target reader is in fact fairly fluid. “As an individual I think I’d get quite a lot out of it if I hadn’t written the thing,” he says. “Everybody has their own view of why the current communications set up in their company is brilliant or terrible; a lot of people have complaints about how their email is set up, or how they’re not allowed to use Facebook or any other social communications internally. Everyone has an opinion and it would be nice if they could identify exactly what they don’t like and express that to their company. Whether their company acts on it is of course up to the business.”

It’s a well-informed, literate volume – and is available here.

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