Since my book came out, I have been blessed with an unbelievable range of feedback – from readers I have known for a while, others i have never met, and those I have been meeting on the book tour. To most it is about how technology is changing business but to many it is about a rethink of personal priorities and to many others it is about revisiting various ethical issues around technology.
I invited a few to express their big “aha” from the book. Here’s the first batch of contributors with links to their websites/LinkedIn pages:
“Amid the frenetic pace of living in the technology bubble, the story (in the book) of Erik Keller's switch from master technologist to master horticulturist inspires like no other. It was Erik who coined the term 'Enterprise Irregulars' to describe a rag bag of smart and occasionally similar minded people with interests in enterprise IT. He then promptly fell off the IT landscape.
Today, Erik uses his gardening skills to aid special-education children and cancer victims. It is a noble calling. The lesson? "In the technology business we often don't think about tomorrow's impact of today's actions. The term 'legacy' is considered a negative in technology whereas in farming it is a positive. Because the nature of technology is not to preserve the past it often functions in a circular, self-destructive mode."
As I observe the hyperspace world fueling a predicted new social order I wonder whether we are on the brink of institutionalizing a narrow and isolated society whose only glue are the bits and bytes that stream across our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Then I look over the olive groves near my home. Some trees have stood for more than 400 years, steadily producing their annual harvest upon which the local economy depends.They in turn depend on the expert husbandry and knowledge passed down generations but ultimately founded upon the family based community in which I live. I know which I prefer. I know which I'd rather preserve. I'm inspired to bring Erik's teaching into questioning why IT is taking its current path becauseif Erik is right, then IT isn't sustainable, however one wishes to celebrate creative destruction. One day I may walk in Erik's footsteps.
[written under the shade of a fruit tree in our garden.] “
“I first heard about the author in Boston in June at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, essentially an Emerging Technologies conference focused on Collaboration, Digital Media and so on. His keynote was one of my favorites, so I bought his book as soon as it was available on Amazon in the US, before it was available at home in Canada.
I have a BSc Hons in Mathematics and Computer Science. I worked as a programmer/analyst to Project Manager and did Emerging Technology R&D for 15 years and then took a 16 year sabbatical to raise my family.
The book feels like the beginning of a personal Renaissance for me – the acronym of RENAISSANCE is also the framework of the book. I found I was able to catch up and leapfrog on a decade and a half's worth of understanding. It was like an airplane ride over the global landscape of InfoTech, CleanTech and some HealthTech, with brief landings for a deeper look along the way. I believe an entire book could have been written for every chapter and I have been diving into his references/notes and getting all the depth I want, as I need it.
I have had a lifelong fascination of the lives and lessons of Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and now I been introduced to both modern day Polymaths and modern day Polymath Companies and their exciting work. I aspire to be a Polymath, as we all should. But being a Polymath is going to be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition (as we mathematicians like to say) of our future learners. We will need to collaborate with may other fellow Polymaths to really solve the "wicked problems" our civilization faces.”
“In IT, Integrating business processes across departments, companies, industries and entire nations, it's always been the human factor that inspires me. Offentliga Dokument is a larger-than-life example (in the book) as it is a shared company just created for the event of unifying 260 state agencies and 85,000 suppliers- how very apt. The Pareto principle justified the business case, as it should: in an ever-changing world, dynamics are a fact of life - just good enough is the perfect goal nowadays.
The challenges for this case? Agreeing on a common standard, doing the legal mumbo-jumbo, and coordinating joint roll-out schedule. Oh and a bit of IT too.Quite often it's forgotten how to get into a relationship like these: just like you get into your own. First agree on that which you have in common, and then call in the cavalry: form follows function. If you start at second or third base, a slap-in-the-face is what you least can expect; and in IT these can be costly tens-of-millions slaps, now that the enterprise level somehow seems to be a logical starting point for just about everything.
I call for a return to common sense in IT.
And I use one simple measure to get there: let's just pretend it's our own, hard-earned money that we spend.
[written from the jacuzzi standing in the garden of our terraced house]"
“In reading Vinnie’s book, I was often reminded of the old Peter Allen song, “Everything old is new again.” From the early pages where Vinnie quotes Benjamin Franklin to the end where he uses the Zen concept of “Beginner’s Mind,” it seems that innovation in many forms owes much to prior efforts and clever life forms (animal and vegetable) whose special adaptations and gifts can be morphed into exciting new uses. This historical basis and ties are essential for any successful innovation as it gives a solid context and base from which people and organizations can move forward successfully.
But for certain types of innovation, like software- or platform-as-a-service, I sometimes worry that too many efforts will be no more than recycled centralized mainframes with a pretty lipstick-on-a-pig user interface rather than something very different and useful. My former Gartner colleague Chris Jones often called the late 1990s ERP solutions no more than MRP II on steroids. He was spot on. It will be up to all the new polymaths to ensure that this doesn’t occur yet again.”