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Do I Really Have Anything to Say?

Speaking encouragement through simplicity

Over my time at this conference, I have felt more like a journalist covering a rally or pilgrimage than I have an attendee, delegate, or member. This is a group of people who are committed to their lives as technologists in very narrow, focused, and prevalent field. And I watch them and see zealots. This is their religion and there is no shaking their faith that this is the only way to do everything when it comes to technology.

I get that it’s cool and I agree that it has caused a paradigm shift in many ways, but it’s a commodity to me. It’s made computing like any other utility – power, water, gas. If anything, it’s making things less exciting and enabling a single skill set to deliver everything a company needs. Instead of making these folks more valuable, it’s marginalizing them. Use the smart ones to get it set up, then bring in the average ones to keep it afloat. Done and done.

There was a time I was more passionate about these things, when I thought technology could change the world. Now that I’m older and have seen so many trends come and go, I understand that it’s not the gear; it’s not the software; it’s not the trend. It still comes down to the people. And the people that are here are not the ones making the life-changing decisions and bringing forth the society-saving tools. They’re just geeky guys (95% of them or so) here to worship at the feet of virtualization and cloud computing.

So as the conference comes to a close, I leave mostly with a dissatisfied, incomplete feeling. My hope was to see, hear, and meet visionaries. I saw none. I wanted to be shown how these tools could be combined with people, with movements, and with one or more dynamic and critical industry – healthcare, energy independence, transportation,education – to solve a world-scale problem. Maybe even prove a seminal event.

Instead, I got a backpack.

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