The Last Obstacle
Like a runner in a marathon, a company that wants
to rid itself of its legacy Windows platforms must overcome many obstacles. The
main obstacles in both cases are not the competition, but rather the enemies within.
The first obstacle that any athlete faces is *lack of preparation*. Without determined,
long-term planning, no serious endeavor can succeed. The company wishing to break
free of the limitations of the obsolete Windows era must PLAN to do so. They will
not succeed in eliminating the Windows ball-and-chain by simply waiting for others
to cut them loose, any more than the marathoner can expect to finish the race by
just "skating". The runner cannot depend on the pushing and nudging of
the mass of competitors to carry them along toward the goal. Success depends on
making up your mind long before the big day comes, and exerting yourself toward
the goal through rigorous practice and training.
A company must set concrete goals -- percentage of desktops, percentage of servers,
numbers of support personnel to be retrained, departments or technical areas of
specialty to be migrated first -- and schedule the permanent removal of Windows
and replacement with serious platforms. Similarly, the athlete must determine in
advance a proper training diet and maintain strict control over the intake of dietary
"junk food" in order to remove the excess flab. There's nothing flabbier
than Windows, and nothing as corrosive in its effects on a company's information
infrastructure, either. Windows is to IT what Twinkies are to an athlete. Cut
the flab -- stop buying Windows products, and instead bulk up on smart food.
Another obstacle a company must overcome is inertia, or lack of initiative to chart
a new course. Once they fall into a sluggish pace, the lazy athlete and the lazy
company will both lose the survival instinct necessary to fight off the fatiguing
effects of peer pressure, advertising malarkey, and plain old apathy. In a race
to win, the athlete must fight off the urge to lope casually along. Similarly,
the company that wants to succeed must not fall asleep at the wheel and let Microsoft
dictate the pace of obsolescence through its artificially short-lived products.
The last obstacle on the course is the hardest to overcome. This is the obstacle
of ego. A runner in a race may believe they have it all sewed up, and therefore
fail to give full effort. Or, the runner may lose hope and decide to quit the race
when the going gets tough. Similarly, a company is often inhabited by egotistical
know-it-alls who need the constant psychological stroking that Microsoft provides
-- constantly providing false confirmation that they made the so-called "right
choice" and that they are on the right course by their wimpy knuckling under
to the pace of the mediocre mainstream. Or, the company may realize that the challenge
of totally rooting out dead-end Microsoft platforms was harder than they had first
anticipated, and they may give up and lapse back into mindless conformity, drifting
along in the hazy fog of the technological stragglers at Microsoft.
Remember to attack the enemy within through preparation, determination, goal-setting,
and an unshakeable mindset of excellence at all costs. Microsoft and mediocrity
can be defeated, but only by those who are firmly determined to go the entire distance
and pay the full price that greatness requires.
Most recent revision: June 1, 2000
Copyright © 2000, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.