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Who do you believe now?

Who do you believe now?

Editorial

Who do you believe now?

Welcome back to a new year, new century, the millennium, the noughties, and life post-Y2K preparation! Phew, anyone could be led to believe New Years Eve was significant or something.

It's great to be back, but I'm tempted to not write another word about Y2K, least of all add to the endless soul searching by countless IT journalists around the world.

In case you've been on holidays in central Australia and missed the news, we are all recovering from one of the greatest anti- climaxes the IT industry has witnessed for years.

The problem since New Years Eve has been what should have been celebrated as a triumph over technology has given way to claims that the IT industry was out to scam the world out of billions of dollars.

It was amusing to hear a few IT-ignorant individuals from government and industry bodies pipe up and effectively say `hey, someone should investigate this, we've been scammed!'

The interesting question now facing the channel, and the wider IT industry, is who do you believe now? Did we take the issue too seriously?

For the record, I'll join those who say our Y2K preparation was worth the time and money - some people just should have had enough faith in their work to join the party instead of eating pizza and drinking soft drink in front of a terminal at midnight on the big night.

As for blaming the media for over-hyping the situation, that view is short sighted and one we could take up another time.

The real problem now is while it remains business as usual for the majority, the Y2K experience seriously questions the faith we often place in industry analysts and vendor CEOs of Bill Gates' proportions.

As journalists, we often look to these people for a glimpse of the future, so does that mean we are again at fault? I think not. The only people more sceptical than IT journalists are those in sceptics' societies.

In this issue, our features editor Tamara Plakalo took a bold look at the year ahead (page 27). Without stealing her thunder, it promises to be yet another action packed year, particularly where the Internet is concerned.

Our rule of thumb is still that the best place to get information about the channel is from the people working in it every day. So taking that on board, where does the channel get its information and, again, who will you believe in the future?

What if our industry leaders consistently get it wrong? It's happened before and it will happen again.

According to research from Inform, the media is a leading source of information for the channel, as are Web sites and first-hand experiences from peers and customers.

Attempting to chart this information flow would result in a picture that vaguely resembles a bowl of spaghetti, if you get what I mean. It's a self- perpetuating circle that can breed both information and misinformation.

There's no easy answer to the question of who can be believed, or trusted. To use the spaghetti bowl analogy, the best thing is to dip the fork and start chewing again for the year.

Start talking not only with your colleagues, but dare to sit down with your competitors over a beer and share your experience.

Like many people, I've never been disciplined enough to take New Year's resolutions seriously. But something I'm preparing for is to expect the unexpected, particularly where the channel is concerned.

If Y2K has taught us anything, it's that IT is still an untamed beast and we won't know the real outcomes until they happen, or don't happen in this case.

Mark Jones is editor of Australian Reseller News. Reach him at mark_jones@idg.com.au


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