Phew, what a year! You would think that after the turbulence of 2001, the past 12 months would have been all about getting back to the business of technology.
But times are such that business is no longer about business, and technology has more to do with defamation laws, recouping losses from the decade-long rampage of capital investment in technology and (politically non-correct and, therefore, hardly ever mentioned) theory of hyper-production.
Even Santa Claus’s existence is being questioned, at least according to a widely-circulated e-mail from an electrical engineer, which claims that if Santa ever existed, he is dead now due to his globalised and significantly increased workload, unreliability of the outsourced deer and, to a lesser extent, due to some minor laws of physics. Really, have we lost all the joy and creative power of belief?
The child-like excitement we felt while discovering the wonders of one of the most creative industries in existence has given in to worries about the global age. Our carelessness in failing to recognise the contribution the IT industry has made to human progress probably comes from forgetting that every social, economic or business trend also produces new rules, dynamics and conditions that profoundly transform its existence. And so our industry keeps struggling to keep up with the chain of economic causes and effects that are affecting its viability. The industry has forgotten it was its ability to innovate that enabled it to create one of the most significant revolutions in the history of civilisations, that should be called upon to solve this significant — but surmountable — market hurdle.
Miracles (economic, as well as fairytale ones) are founded on consensus, on believing in common purpose, and trusting your partners in crime to come to the party and do the same. We all agree that something needs to be done, but the idea of common industry purpose and trust between the players have been hard to come by lately. Few seem to remember that regaining the common purpose of industry revival –– and trusting that we can do it together –– is a tiny, often ignored, yet vital link in the chain of events that determines an industry’s or community’s future and makes Santa visit again.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to the electrical engineer’s professional scepticism. Call me a naïve believer or an incurable optimist, but there are only two ways to look at a half-filled glass –– and I choose to see it as half-full. While talking –– yes, talking –– to Telstra’s automated, courteous and very, very virtual customer service representative the other day, I was once again reminded of the magnificent creative power of the industry I write about. It makes you wonder how an industry that enables a machine to have an intelligent conversation with humans can lose sight of its own ability to create solutions. If this is what “maturing” is about, let’s regress for a moment, help Santa deal with his globalisation woes and recover our belief that we can do the same. And while you’re having a very merry Christmas and a happy beginning to the new year, think of inventing some more IT fairytales.n