Thinking on Infrastructure and nerd knobs

Thinking on Infrastructure and nerd knobs

Nerd KnobsAll my life I’ve been a fan of learning new things.  I remember my mom reading to me when I was young and just craved more.  I remember the exact moment when my love of learning into a passion for technology,  specifically computers. It was the day my dad brought a Commodore Vic 20.  My life changed forever as he unboxed the (now) giant floppy drives. It wasn’t long before I was writing a basic program to make an ASCII bird fly around the screen. I knew I had reached the pinnacle of technology.  Surely nothing could every be cooler than making an ASCII bird fly on my monitor?  I was, of course,  wrong.

For decades after that moment I play with countless technology.  Software development, hardware hacking, bits and bytes, and packets – I’ve done it all.  In my professional career, I’ve thought about how the technology helps business.  Every modern business runs on people, time, and technology.  As an IT geek I’ve worried about nerd knobs for so long because, after all, the better tuned a system, the better it runs, right? If we can just make it a little better, everyone wins, right? Business runs on IT, so it must be all about IT. Makes sense to me.  Or it used to anyways.

As I’ve changed my career path from purely technical to consulting and managerial,  I’ve changed how I think of IT.  The It department, like everyone else is a company, has one sole purpose. To provide business value. Doing anything that doesnKeyboard’t directly help the business simply doesn’t matter. Does that mean you shouldn’t work to make a system faster? Of course not!  What I mean is that the details of how to make that system faster likely doesn’t matter.  What matters is the goal of making it faster is to produce more widgets.

At a recent event with Keith Townsend, someone in the audience asked “What new thing should I learn?”, and the answer Keith provided wasn’t Docker or Cloud – instead, he suggested learning more about your business.  IT is changing from being technology focused to being business results driven organization. The real future of IT isn’t about faster drives, less latency, serverless, or any other technology.  The real future is about partnering with the business.

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