No Risk, No Reward

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2003-05-05 Print this article Print

Today, it seems like everyone's running scared. No one wants to go out on a limb and try new things.

What happened to all the risk takers? I have spent most of my career either implementing corporate systems, or testing and writing about them for eWEEK and other publications. However, I took the last five years off and helped launch a 24-hour cable network—called TechTV—all about technology.
Back in the late nineties, IT departments were full of risk takers. Innovative new technologies were brought in, piloted and in some cases turned into real competitive advantage. Sure, there were a lot of duds. But many new technologies turned out pretty well, including intranets, PDAs and clustered servers. But today, it seems like everyones running scared. No one wants to go out on a limb and try new things.
As John Taschek, director of eWEEK Labs, has noted, AMDs Opteron processor has many technical virtues, but only flawless marketing by AMD—and its been far from flawless so far—will overcome the innate caution of IT buyers. There may be hope now that IBM has joined the Opteron party, but the larger point is still that IT today is just too timid to take a risk—even on a server that runs faster and cheaper than the competition.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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