Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Luddite consultant

I have a confession to make. Yes, I make a living supporting technology, introducing organizations to new levels of digital sophistication. But . . . in my heart, I'm a Luddite. My greatest challenge in business is persuading end-users to embrace the changes I bring to their jobs . . . and yet I find that I resist change as much as they do.

For instance:
  • My computers are old, for a techno-geek. I keep them at least two or three years.
  • I finally upgraded my personal installation of Microsoft Office to Office 2003 -- three years after it was released.
  • I finally wrote my first .NET application . . . four years after the technology was released to production. Until then I had continued to use Visual Basic 6 (now quaintly referred to as "classic" VB) which was released ten years ago.
  • As I wrote earlier, I'm still using a five-year-old digital camera, which is starting to get stares of amazement from the late adopters who are sporting cameras half as small with twice the resolution and zoom.
  • My boss, Harry, has repeatedly pushed initiatives to get us to use new software: billing software on our PDAs, personal organization tools, new CRM systems like Commence. On every single initiative, I dragged my feet. (Ok, I was actually right to hate Commence, which we eventually scrapped, but that's another story.)

In general, I am perfectly happy to continue using the tools and technologies I have right now, and anyone pushing something new has to make a strong case to push my hand. To some extent, that is consistent with my conscious IT philosophy of "solve the business problem first, then worry about making it pretty." But it's a trend that I would be embarrassed to admit to my customers.



Blogger ebuddha said...

You are being too hard on yourself.

"two or three years".

With comps today - is there really any need to upgrade every year? Most machines barely hiccup for development environments, unless you are doing sophisticated with video or graphics.

"I finally upgraded my personal installation of Microsoft Office to Office 2003 - three years after it was released"

Yeah? So? There is some cool stuff in Office 2003, but is it really pertinent to your job?

"I finally wrote my first .NET application...four years ater the technology was released to production."

A Joel Spolsky article you have most likely read

A quote:

"And yet, people aren't really using .NET much.

Oh sure, some of them are.

But the idea of unifying the mess of Visual Basic and Windows API programming by creating a completely new, ground-up programming environment with not one, not two, but three languages (or are there four?) is sort of like the idea of getting two quarreling kids to stop arguing by shouting "shut up!" louder than either of them. It only works on TV. In real life when you shout "shut up!" to two people arguing loudly you just create a louder three-way argument."


"No matter how consistent Microsoft is in their marketing message ("just use .NET—trust us!"), most of their customers are still using C, C++, Visual Basic 6.0, and classic ASP, not to mention all the other development tools from other companies. And the ones that are using .NET are using ASP.NET to develop web applications, which run on a Windows server but don't require Windows clients, which is a key point I'll talk about more when I talk about the web."

(On the other hand, if you haven't even PLAYED with .Net, out of fun, then maybe there is a bit of the Luddite in you - cause it is very intersting to test out.)

Digital camera - same thing - if it is good enough - and you have other things going on - why bother?

As Spolsky also says in that article - "because there's no return on investment for us."

Sounds like you have the same attitude.

All it means is you aren't an early adopter - but it doesn't mean you are a Luddite.

6:07 PM  

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