Category Archives: Blogs

IT management

I’ve enjoyed Robert Cringley’s recent series of blogicles on IT management — largely because it’s given me a greater understanding of a world that has, at various times, interested and frustrated me. He also draws a distinct line between management and leadership, two concepts that are often conflated but require very different skillsets.

If you get the chance, have a look at the three columns about the “Cousin IT of American industry”:

We serve the company but often don’t feel part of it. Certainly the value structures and lines of authority that function perfectly well for most of the rest of the company don’t work at all well for IT. We’re vital but at the same time, well, so different that it’s hard to imagine a CEO emerging from the IT ranks. It happens from time to time. Everyone points to John Reed, who rose from IT to CEO of Citicorp, but Reed was an exceptional case. He succeeded because his predecessor, Walter Wriston, had an unusual interest in IT and mentored Reed. Reed succeeded, too, because he didn’t really come from IT but from Data Processing, which was more hierarchical. And ultimately he didn’t succeed at all, by some measures, because John Reed was fired.

A peculiar epitaph

Over on his blog, Paolo Coelho posts snippets of writing, usually involving a lesson or life advice. There’s a nice one up today about doing the most with the time you have on this planet.

On his tombstone, he had the following epitaph engraved:

“A life which ends with death, is a life not well spent.”

I like the piece because it does not necessarily preach about what one should do to ensure future generations remember them, it just gives an example of one character. Coelho will live on through his writing — The Alchemist in particular — much as Shakespeare has. It’s also important to note that Abin-Alsar, the character in the blog posting, does not achieve world fame or glory, but rather makes life better for the people of his town. A local but beloved immortality.

By the way…

… I’m somewhat concerned that somebody from the University of Missouri-Columbia found this site by Googling orange pee (not as a single term). I have no desire to duplicate the search of that strange, strange individual, but I guess I should be grateful you spend six minutes on the site.