Present and Accounted For….

My first Gartner blog post from September, 2008

“Are you going to eat those peanuts?”

It’s surprising how many great stories–mostly untold–begin with that line. Surprising, too, how many begin at 37,000 feet over Denver in airplanes where drinks have just been served and the squirrelly man next to me with the oversized glasses, poor complexion, and cheesy toupee leans over nervously, yet expectantly, to ask for my snack. Maybe this only happens to me. And maybe the man is usually my dad. But this time it wasn’t and that’s why I thought you should know what happened next.

So, while noisily crunching nuts and swilling Coke, the man I’ll call Spike–to preserve anonymity–introduced himself and almost guiltily mentioned that he worked for something like the US General Accounting Office (GAO) on special assignments. I ignored him and resented the fact that I’d given him food. But he pressed on and I hereby offer a brief transcript of the next few minutes of our conversation:

Spike: “I um . . . have a rather . . . ah . . . unique project I’m working on right now. . . .  You wouldn’t know anybody who works in the technology field, would you?”
Me: “Nope.”
Spike: “Really. You look like you would, that’s all. Are you sure?”
Me: “Yep.”

First of all, I rarely get excited about technology projects which exist outside the boundaries of my topic area. Whether Sega succeeded or failed with DreamCast game equipment didn’t matter to me in the least (even if their marketing got more humorously bizarre than this: “Sega Turns Typing into Terror with Typing of the Dead!  Sega Introduces Genre-Defying Game That Melds Fast-Paced Survival Action with Typing Tutorial-Styled Gameplay!”) Now, if Sega were developing secure access to my corporate email via my good old PSP I might perk up a bit.

Forgive me if I don’t turn my head each time some new gadget or product gets introduced. . . .  Oh, that’s right. I do. I guess I should divulge how the discussion really went:

Spike: “I um . . . have a rather . . . ah . . . unique project I’m working on right now. . . .  You wouldn’t know anybody who works in the technology field, would you?”
Me: “I do! I do! I do!”
Spike: “Really. Can you keep a secret?”
Me: “Nope.”
Spike: “Great! Neither can I. Here’s the lowdown. . . . “

I promise to finish stories like this. I promise to try to relate as much to non-Gartner readers as to my friends within that community. I promise to maintain some semblance of continuity… if not in terms of time than at least in topic.

Here are links to my recent research on Gartner: http://tiny.cc/Toby

And, here’s the premise of my “not-quite-personal” and yet “not-quite professional” publishing venture: I’m here, I’m interested in a range of technologies, and – more particularly – the implications of those technologies for people who use them. Or don’t. I am lucky enough to get paid for what I already would have been otherwise doing for free. I hope the time you invest in reading and responding is always rewarded and never wasted….

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