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The Demise of IT? So What.

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Here we go again with Nick Carr spraying his anti-IT bile around. This time it's in the form of a new book, arguing that IT departments and software developers will be extinct soon. Why does he matter? Because he's a so-called pundit, a Harvard-educated writer, who in 2003 wrote a scathing article in Harvard Business Review titled, "IT Doesn't Matter". It ruffled a few feathers back then, just as the industry was pulling itself out of the imploded tech fiasco.

So he's back again, trumpeting his negativism about the software and the IT industry in general. Read a viewpoint here. I don't understand what Mr. Carr's point is? I mean besides creating controversy and pushing a few books in the process.

He argues that IT and the software industry will go down the same road as the electric generation business went a century ago. Back then many factories had their own generators. Then the utility companies became efficient enough and the economies of scale replaced self-generation with buying service from a large utility company. First of all, is that a good thing? Today we are at the mercy of the monopolistic utility companies. They charge whatever they want, they ignore consumer pleas when their meters are faulty and they take their time restoring power when it goes out. So is this in the cards for the companies' IT infrastructure? Google or Amazon taking the helm and treat us as they please?

Secondly, how much foresight does it take to predict big shifts in the IT industry? Every industry goes through changes, not just IT. So the PC might be dead in 20 years, big deal. Cars and clothes and MRI machines won't be the same either. Given long enough time, even Earth will look different than it does today.

It's easy to prognosticate about the future. No one really knows how things will shake out 20 years from now. There are a million possibilities and we all know the future will be different than the present. If Mr. Carr had predicted the rise of Google, Amazon, and Facebook 20 years ago, I might have been impressed. But just looking at a slice of time today and extrapolating it into the future, a 9-year old could do it, and he'll probably be just as wrong as Mr. Carr is.

Disclaimer: My opinions are based on material available in the media and Mr. Carr's Web site. I have not read nor am I planning to read his book. But if you want to buy it, be my guest.

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