Carping On and On and On
- 07 August, 2003 10:15
I’ve been way too busy recently. As a result, I’m not getting out much. And when I don’t get out much, very little happens to piss me off and suddenly I am faced with this blank editorial page and nothing to spew about. (I mean, what’s the point of writing a monthly column if not to have a regular rant?)
The good news is that tomorrow I’m off to the US and I have no doubt whatsoever something or somebody will manage to irk me in the land of the professionally friendly and totally weird. You can pretty much guarantee that any personal contact with a Buffy or Skippy — and the US is populated with an embarrassment of Buffys and Skippys — will result in good column fodder.
So for want of a topic I’m gonna have to have a go at Nicholas Carr, something I told myself I wasn’t going to do back in May when everybody and their brother was anteing up an opinion or two. Now just in case you’ve been — oh, say in Outer Mongolia — Mr Carr wrote a rather contentious article for The Harvard Business Review entitled “IT Doesn’t Matter”.
What is it with these so-called pundits? Why do they have this need to make these kind of sweeping statements, which in turn engender broad rebuttals, such as: “Yer wrong, arsehole.” (Although now that I think about it, that actually is a bit specific.)
Well, I think I know why they do it. It’s because these commentators know that these one-shot, go-for-the-kidney-punch statements end up having more lives than a cat. In fact, they never give up the ghost. Believe me, much like CommBank’s Mr Murray (IT has single-handedly, blah, blah, blah), Mr Carr’s “IT doesn’t matter” is gonna be served up as the main course time, and time and time again.
And believe this, too. He knew it when he wrote it. Because he knew how the press would react.
For all of this is the press’s fault. We allow the “controversial” statement to live forever. Because in the end the vendors, the analysts and the industry observers know they’re backing a winner if they want to get ink if they lob a Mr Carr or Mr Murray at us, and we all get a winner by rebutting, refuting or just plain snorting in indignation.
The only problem, of course, is that not every board member pays attention to such fine details and once again CIO and senior IT executives keep taking it on the chin (or is that the kidney)?
Frankly, I think it’s time all of us stopped writing so much in reaction and just started saying: “Yer wrong, arsehole.” Or better yet stop listening.
Nicholas Carr replies
Dear Ms. Kennedy,
I thoroughly enjoyed your column about my article - after so much hot air, it was refreshingly blunt and funny.
Good luck with your U.S. trip.
Nick "Skippy" Carr
P.S. I'm actually right, you know.