This really resonated…
“One thing I find interesting is that the technologies that restructure our relationships to time, space and other people also tend to create great anxiety, and this is often expressed in a form of ‘moral panic’. If you think of the introduction of electricity, when the first Senate hearings on domestic electricity were happening in the U.S., one of the arguments against electrifying people’s homes was that it would make women and children vulnerable to predators (because the lights would reveal that they were home at night.) I think that’s fascinating, and it sounds remarkably like some of the anxieties we hear today about the Internet, with people worrying about predators.” Genevieve Bell, Intel Corporation
I see parallels in the corporate IT world all the time too.
This piece by Farhad Manjoo is so spot on….
“Imagine you run a large technology company not named Apple. Let’s say you’re Steve Ballmer, Michael Dell, Meg Whitman, Larry Page, or Intel’s Paul Otellini. How are you feeling today, a day after Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new iPad? Are you discounting the device as just an incremental improvement, the same shiny tablet with a better screen and faster cellular access? Or is it possible you had trouble sleeping last night? Did you toss and turn, worrying that Apple’s new device represents a potential knockout punch, a move that will cement its place as the undisputed leader of the biggest, most disruptive new tech market since the advent of the Web browser? Maybe your last few hours have been even worse than that. Perhaps you’re now paralyzed with confusion, fearful that you might be completely boxed in by the iPad—that there seems no good way to beat it.”
This piece from Clay Shirky isn’t new, but it’s sure still absolutely relevant.
I think Chris Chant has hit the nail on the head with his recent Institute of Government piece.
“It is unacceptable at this point in time to not know the true cost of a service and the real exit costs from those services: the costs commercially, technically and from a business de-integration standpoint. So, how do we untangle our way out of a particular product or service. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the discussion that says, we need to get away from that, and we can’t because of the complexity of getting out from where we are, and of all the things that are hanging on to that particular service, that we can’t disentangle ourselves from.
I think it’s completely unacceptable at this point in time to enter into contracts for longer than 12 months. I can’t see how we can sit in a world of IT, and acknowledge the arrival of the iPad in the last two years, and yet somehow imagine that we can predict what we’re going to need to be doing in two or three or five or seven or ten years time. It’s complete nonsense.”
It fills me with hope that there are people out there working to highlight that the command-and-control approach to technology and systems no longer holds up. Can the few break out of the force field of the incumbent suppliers? I really hope so.
Full audio of Chris’s piece is available here.
The problem I’ve most often met in building secure systems is that this particular subject seems to bring out the utopian in people like no other.
This ‘should’ happen, that ‘should’ happen, its unfair or wrong or wicked that such and such is allowed to continue. Well, yes. But what are we actually going to do about it? So we need realistic problems solvers. That means a pragmatic approach, which can often offend a lot of purists. Peter Gutmann captures the essence beautifully - “I think a lot of purists would rather have PKI be useless to anyone in any practical terms than to have it made simple enough to use, but potentially “flawed”.”
Bertrand Russell said, “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”
Nothing here yet. Come back soon.
I’m continually and constantly amazed about the general myopia from people who have no idea that what they’re doing, or how they’re doing it is becoming irrelevant. If you think change is hard then irrelevance is even more miserable.