Friday, December 01, 2006

Power of the (IT) people

Related to my last post, I wanted to explore the power that IT people wield over society today. There has been a dramatic power shift over the last few decades and no one seems to have noticed or care. What am I talking about? Think of what is run by computers these days. Everything from our financial to health to transportation systems has a vital dependence on some sort of computer system. Now ask yourself who holds the power over that system. Legally it is the management of whatever company we look at, but practially it is the IT folks.
Now why do I bring this up? Consider the consequence of an IT strike or even more unlikely an IT coup. If the geeks wanted, we can just turn off a significant portion of civilization. Now I don't expect anytjing like this to happen, but it's something to think about.

4 comments:

Andy Locoweed said...

I would LOVE to see that happen. Project Mayhem v2.0 we could call it... I'll personally write the SQL scripts to encrypt entire organizations databases with random passwords, and I'd be more than happy to help out with a few scripts to mangle AD beyond repair with only a few mouse clicks.
At some point I think we geeks/nerds/IT folk need to just stand up to the dipshits that run our businesses and take the power back. At one point in time you became the leader of an organization because you knew your business and you could lead really well. Now you get to where you are because your buddy helped you out, you play golf with some other rich fuck who knows another rich fuck who knows a guy who needs to burn some cash on your salary, or because the company you work for grew really fast and you were the only one dumb enough that they could promote into management without worrying about crippling their IT resource pool.

Ok, I've vastly over-simplified in order to add venom to my little tirade, but there is some truth to it. Perhaps I'm just angry because I'm going out shopping to buy a bunch of "office" clothes that in no way shape or form will change anything about what I am capable or willing to do at work. They won't cause me to comment more code more frequently, or put in better change tickets. They won't force me to stop having extended conversations about nothing when friends drop by my cube, and they certainly won't change my attitude about the moronic leadership my small corner of the IT world has. What they WILL do though is show all those dinosaurs that roam my IT management ranks that I'm a team player. I'm a corporate go-getter. I'm a professional. I'm fucking with your head.

Joe said...

I wasn't quite thinking of Project Mayhem 2.0 as described, but it's an option.

I was thinking less destructive but larger scale. Not to 'take the power back' from the people that run the companies we work for. I happen to think that some of them are actually quite clever. True, there are places where middle management in particular is just a waste of carbon but in general I don't have that much of a problem with business leadership. I am more disappointed with the political leadership these days. I look at the people who run our countries and the world and I generally get a feeling of disgust. There are many business leaders that I find inspiring and great role models. (Richard Branson, Jack Welsh, Larry Page & Sergei Brinn, ...) I can't say any of the world leaders invoke similar feelings of respect and awe.

Andy Locoweed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Locoweed said...

...I need to get better at using the Preview option...

Yeah, I just like to rant about what's on my mind and work was on my mind at the time. There is no doubt that there are some great business leaders out there and the ones you mention have my respect (Branson is on thin ice though just because he's a bit of a pompous ass...).
Now politics- that's a different story. I think that the current political system (especially in North America) is in need of a major overhaul. It is increasingly out of touch with the needs and desires of the people which it is supposed to be controlled by, and in many ways it resembles me after a night at the bar- bloated and inefficient.