Sour Moby Grape(s)

Sour Moby Grape(s)

I was reading one of my competitors the other day and I couldn't help but notice that the rock stars formerly known as CIOs had been put on notice, and it ain't for hotel room trashing.

The accuser? Well, it wasn't a guy built like a 4x4 wearing a roadie badge or some jailbait groupie wearing an "I'm with the band" T-shirt. Lean in a little bit and on closer inspection you'll see PRESS printed on the ID card hanging off this so-called fan's lanyard. And this self-appointed fan club member has decided some of you are getting, as my grandmother used to say, way too big for your breeches.

The sin? A rock star dared decline a sound bite moment. Can you imagine?

So this fan, having a prescribed outlet at his disposal (the wonderful world of media), proceeded to rap the knuckles of our rock star using pixels, not ink. Our naughty, naughty CIO was taken to task for being uncooperative and disinclined to comment. After all, we're the PRESS, he argued, and it's your job to communicate. It's the all too familiar Greek chorus of many a fan club: We made you and we can break you. So there, and shoo-bop sha whada whadda.

And therein lies the reason for the rock star tag I've been using. Because, like it or not ladies and gentlemen, you have become rock stars. Don't believe it? Here's a sample of the global fanzines devoted to your title or domain: CIOInsight, MIS magazine, CIODecisions, Optimize magazine, and, of course, CIO magazine. Try finding that many titles devoted solely to the CEO or CFO. And let's not forget Computerworld, or the local dailies (especially on Tuesday) and a raft of online sites that love the odd CIO rock star yarn (or two or three). Whew, you guys are popular. It would appear your fans are legion.

And, golly gee, you didn't even have to ask. I mean, it's not like a squad of CIOs came pounding at my door demanding: "We want CIO, we want CIO . . ."

When a bloke steps up to the CEO plate, it's pretty much expected that he will have to regularly deal with the press and field their questions. Not so with the CIO. Sure, you have to have good communication skills these days. In fact it's the skill you consistently rate as #1 in our "State of the CIO" survey each year, but the emphasis is on internal dialogue. I very much doubt that most organizations expect - or want - their CIOs to be the equivalent of an IT Paris Hilton. Of course some CIOs are happy to regularly walk the red carpet a la Ms Hilton, but there are plenty who are anti-Paris Hiltons (perhaps, better described as rock stars of the Linus Torvalds ilk).

Just because the fanzines exist doesn't mean CIOs must ante up and talk to a journalist. This ain't the entertainment or music industry; there's no movie or album to plug. The misfortune of fame has been thrust upon you. (Sorry.)

And I think it's time to tell anyone in the press with the gall to chastise you: You're getting way too big for your breeches, sonny boy.

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