In response to Geoffrey Moore’s response to Randy Bias…

For those who are interested in the exchange that led me to my current conundrum, see:

I’ve been troubled by this exchange for some time, and am tardy in my response, for its taken several days (and some soul-searching) to get beyond my own personal perspective (I’m predisposed to Geoff’s statesman-like, “listen/learn” approach rather than the Randy’s always smart but sometimes condescending “lecture/scold” stance).

Perhaps it has helped to have recently visited the Midwest (for last week’s Tech Innovations conference in Chicago and the Indianapolis “Spirit in Place” events).  I’m both intrigued and humbled by the business culture in other parts of the country, rather than the rarified air in Silicon Valley where Ptolemy rules much of our thinking.  Yes, I’ve lived in the Cloud for more than a decade and will probably be buried there, but I’m not convinced we are in the midst of a massive or manifest disruption caused by an architecture that has been in place for many years.  No tidal wave, to be sure, though yes, a shifting of the ground beneath us.  As I’ve documented elsewhere, Enterprise IT is certainly undergoing an evolutionary change (i.e., transformative over time), but I think there’s more to our world than the Enterprise (howsoever one may define it).

As skilled professionals and practitioners, we still focus too much upon the technology, as if tools are an end rather than means toward an end.

Disruptive or not disruptive, point vs. counter-point, both Geoffrey and Randy have smart things to say.  Both of them are skilled with the written word, and sure, swordplay is fun, but isn’t there something better we could be doing with our time and attention?

Perhaps I look for more from an informed conversation between two smart guys (and yes, I confess, more from myself as I enter this discussion). Perhaps we should all keep in mind the larger challenges we face (typhoons, poverty, hunger, conflict) and spend a little bit more time/attention on ways in which our technologies (disruptive or not, transformative or not, innovative or not) might address and even benefit those greater issues rather than focusing solely upon the relatively minor issues of industry semantics.

Should the Enterprise CIO community care about the “bigger issues”?  Listen to Russell Sarder’s interview with the current CTO and Under-secretary General of the United Nations, Atti Riazi.  Here’s a role model for us all, an IT executive with a remarkable background and broad experience, with the courage to say, “A lot of what we believe isn’t correct…” Atti offers a grander view of what IT leaders could be doing:

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