PermaLink A corollary to that last post07/09/2012 06:54 AM
Yeah, I should have just edited that one, but here we go...

The moment I hit "Publish Story" in my Notes client, thanks to the amazing BlogSphere template (thanks, everyone who helped build it, and no, Dec, I never did update past 2.x), I knew there were things I should probably have put in it.

I also knew the sorts of responses I'd get. I'll save y'all the trouble and put them down here.

Well, good riddance to you, the IT world doesn't need you

Yep, you're probably right. I'm not looking for medals. After 32 years of making money solving problems for other people, what I've learned is that IT can't solve the real problems I wonder about now, most of which center around, "what do I want to do when I grow up?" For me, very few of the answers can be obtained by writing more code. This isn't 1979 or 1980, people have come to expect superubercomplexitude as an answer to everything. I am fairly sure now that that ain't it, either for me or for them.

Did I like the money? Yeah. Do I still need it? Yes, but that was never the focus for me. I spent years in the service of the people of the United States, and I took a fairly hefty pay CUT to join that service 20 years ago after years in the private sector. I felt like what I knew, and what I could do, was worth applying to solve problems that could genuinely help people. With a lot of sidetracks along the way, I think I proved that to myself and a few others. I made some money along the way, enough to get me a small farm in the mountains, the tools to maintain it, and to make a place for some majestic and terribly-fragile wabbits (and cats) along the way. I don't think I'd do it much differently now if you rewound the world back to the end of the Carter Administration. You never know.

Oh, come on, man, you have a lot to offer yet!

Yeah, probably right, there, too, but the IT world has become insanely fragmented and hyperspecialized. There was a time -- it was brief, and in the long-distant past -- when someone could grok almost everything that was going on in the small-systems domain. That time is long past. These days, it's hard to find a place for hard-won wisdumb. Gray hair comes from somewhere, and for a lot of shops, it's cheaper to hire a bunch of young people straight out of school, graduated out of programs that literally did not exist twenty or even ten years ago, and pay them damn near nothing to make a lot of rookie mistakes, rather than pay for someone who knows (most of the time) not to stick his fingers in the light socket.

Yeah. I DO have a lot to offer the world, but the thing is, as time goes on, the less I even want to do business with that sort of people, and unfortunately, "that sort of people" seems to predominate. Just look around in IT: incredibly-detailed job listings presided over by IT recruiters whose job is to find the cheapest greenhorn whose resume has all the acronyms and then mark up their hourly to the max while sucking the client's ass to the max to make them think they're getting seasoned vets who won't clusterfuck their system in the first three weeks on the gig. Unless you're the middleman, you're not in control of anything, and if you poke a little deeper, you realize that even the middlemen don't know what in the fuck they're doing.

I am no longer sure that's healthy for anyone involved.

Are you depressed?

No, actually, I'm kinda laughing right now. Ask my friends, I fought depression for many years, found a good treatment and that's past now. If it wasn't, I'd have been dead in October, 2002.

They're just wabbits!

Sure, until they get annoyed and bite through your pinky finger on the show table and your main concern is just "please don't bite the judge."

Dude, I wish I could be you

Most days, I wish I could be me, too. But I do actually have a mortgage to pay, and feed and hay and diesel to pay for, and so I pretend to be somebody else, like a lot of you.

"You see, I just work there,
To finance my real life that begins
With scribbles on pages, and thoughts of how and when...."
-- Karen Peris, "Notebook," from The Innocence Mission, 1989

Can I hire you?

Sure! But I can't be away from the barn for more than 48 hours.

The wabbits need their feed.

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2. Katherine Clarke07/10/2012 10:19:02 PM

The IT Revolution has made some amazing turns, some of them valuable, some of them elegant, some of them both, and some of them -- most bluntly-- neither.
It's not just that they hire these high school graduates (yes, I talked to an HP-contractor high school boy in Canada for two hours; I had to keep reminding him what he was supposed to be doing for me; he seemed to be more interested in finding out about the world through me); it's that the IT CEO's have figured out they can carry corporate irresponsibility one step further: they can make it next to impossible for the IT consumer to give feedback or receive effective assistance. Through technology, and hyper advertising powered by - yes, IT Revolution -- people buy all sorts of products that are simply not well supported by their producers. And, yes, my friends, they take the money and run. . . Or, well, rather invest it in new start-ups or a Swiss bank account, or just enjoy that Golden Parachute.

The problem with you, the grayheaded guy, you could actually provide the support they refuse to; you could actually force connections so they had to take feedback that they don't want to hear. How did I get my a decent HP printer after I was sold a piece of crap that wasn't really compatible with the operating system on my PC? I persisted and found the Contact the CEO page. Yeah, he got an earful about how his stock was set to decline and his failure to support his products my new cause.

Yes, you were an addict; you were also enthusiastic about the humanistic possibilities of the Internet, and you poured yourself into it. There have got to be a number of you old coots out there. The game, unfortunately changes over time, as does the political and economic climate. We need you old coots, we need lots of folks; we got to pull the American corporate model back into a semblance of responsibility TO ITS PRODUCTS AS A MEANS OF BEING RESPONSIBLE TO ITS SHAREHOLDERS. And can you please explain to me how spending multiple millions on opposing political candidates to hedge your bets is really in the stockholders interest? Uh, I think they would have liked to have those millions in investment elsewhere or in their own pockets, thank you. I know I would.

But I do believe after all the turmoil of youth, you have found the very best part. Good luck! Gotta love those wabbits!

3. Mick Moignard07/09/2012 10:47:43 AM

Turtle. How true - this and the last post. Nice one.

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