Nick's Notes

Extremes

As human beings we gravitate to extremes. The fact we have 24-hour rolling news channels desperately trying make a story out of, frankly, the minutia of life, apart from the few occasions when something big happens, exemplifies this situation all too well. And that is not to make light of recent big news stories, such as the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine. I was in Singapore at the time and travelling home that evening. A number of people asked me if I was changing my travel plans; I was not. I see it as an extreme event that a passenger airplane gets shot down, and statistically unlikely to happen two days in a row.

We all love extremes in sport. From triumph to disaster – in football, golf, cricket and most other sports. You name it, billions of electrons, and still a lot of trees, are wasted in providing commentary about the end of “the world as we know it”, but we muddle through and life returns to normal. Although, as the late, great Douglas Adams said: “The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”

And don’t get me started on climate change.

In IT, we overdose on extremes: capacity planning, disaster recovery, business continuity. We love the planning – but when lightning strikes, and recently in the UK quite literally, does the plan come together? Often it doesn’t, without some clever people working it out on the spot.

Succession plans and “stay” bonuses are all created to avoid an individual leaving and causing disaster. But it rarely happens. Organisations migrate from one set of people to another, and nothing much changes. And the unsung heroes keep the business running as always.

Now IT management is all about creating digital strategies. As I’ve written before, every CEO wants one. But the world won’t end for a preponderance of solid, reliable businesses that give traditional service focused on the needs of their customers.

Extremes excite us, but life has a habit of regressing back to the norm, even over a fairly short term.

This will be my last blog for a few weeks as I take a summer holiday. I don’t expect much will change while I’m away.

Share this page