Contrarian or Realist?

By | March 14, 2009

On the last podcast with Dana Gardner, which will be released shortly, Dana commented on my oft contrarian views on information technology. At the time, I took it as a compliment, but it definitely gave me something to consider about myself — am I a real contrarian for contrarian-sake or am I just an experienced realist?

With all due respect to the analyst community, many are fine researchers, but even those who were practitioners once have been out of the game for some time. Whereas I have taken great measures to ensure that I never have gotten too far away from the actual implementation work. I believe the combined view from both inside and outside the IT universe provides a well-rounded view and one that is full of realism.

Perhaps my analyst counterparts know this, but fear being the messenger, because we all know the messenger gets shot. However, I have always prided myself on “calling it as I see it” and I don’t see that changing in the near future.

So, what exactly am I contrarian about? Here’s the short list:

1) I believe open source has obliterated the infrastructure software market and this will have negative implications within the next 5 to 10 years
2) I believe businesses will move away from instead of toward greater software quality due to the higher costs and the appearance that it should be cheaper created by a self-serving VC-backed contingent
3) I believe that containers and application servers are responsible for the creation of a entire portfolio of applications that rely too heavily infrastructure and cannot be properly instrumented and monitored. Moreover, I don’t believe you can know everything that is required about the operations of the application running inside the container by watching the container. It’s like watching a building from the outside and expecting to know what all the people inside are doing.
4) I love learning new programming languages, but I believe the plethora of them make it difficult for businesses to manage their portfolio of applications as an asset
5) Feeding on #4, I don’t believe businesses do enough to manage their in-house applications as a proper asset
6) I believe architecture is essential for developing high-quality systems and I also believe that this point is so intangible that it will never be provided appropriate funding from within businesses

That’s just a short list. There are probably more, but the idea was to put enough out there to gain feedback. Is this contrarian or realism?

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