Its All About Whiners These Days

I'm pretty fed up with what passes for discourse in the IT industry these days.

Im pretty fed up with what passes for discourse in the IT industry these days. Most "news" seems to come from the Web Economy Bulls**t Generator (**t.html)– fill in the asterisks. Here are a couple of recent examples, with venerable cautions interspersed from "If," by poet Rudyard Kipling.

Microsofts Jim Allchin tells Bloomberg News that hes an American who "believes in the American way," and implies that open-source software is an insidious threat to mom, apple pie and the flag. Red Hats CEO Matthew Szulik challenges Allchin to debate the merits of open-source vs. proprietary software before Congress. Allchin, with help from Microsoft spin doctors, backs down and says he only takes exception to one clause of the GNU General Public License.

If you can meet with triumph and disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth youve spoken, Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build em up with worn-out tools.

Sun president and COO Ed Zander told analysts on Feb. 22 that the latest Dataquest research figures showed Sun was "the No. 1 server company on the planet." The next day, Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy said International Data Corp. "announced just recently that we are the No. 1 server company in the world, bigger than IBM in new server sales."

Unfortunately, IDC has not yet published its server summary for last year, and Dataquest actually estimated that IBM beat Sun on both revenues ($13.7 to $9.7 billion) and units shipped (656,457 to 289,040) on a worldwide basis for 2000.

Does anyone really care? An IT manager needs a server that does what he needs it to do. I doubt any of them worry about one vendors definition of patriotism or anothers preoccupation with the number one.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings— nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much.

"The widespread economic slowdown" is being blamed for poor performance by everyone from dot-com dropouts who still havent found a job after six months, to CEOs who miss earnings forecasts that only a fool would have believed—or published—in the first place.

Why not blame the spoiled expectations of an entire generation of slackers and shysters, epitomized by 15-year-old stock market manipulator Jonathan Lebed. He nailed it when he told the New York Times Magazine, "If it wasnt for everybody manipulating the market, there wouldnt be a stock market at all."

The economy isnt sinking at all. It just isnt rising fast enough to offset the inherent negative buoyancy of many recent business plans. If you coined such a plan, take the blame and try again. And if you bought into such a plan wanting to get rich with no sweat, take your lumps and stop looking for scapegoats.

Thats the American way. Maybe the British way, too.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings, And risk it all on one game of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss, Yours is the Earth and everything thats in it, And which is more Youll be a Man, my son!