Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cringely Speaks

IBM Eye links to an interesting article by Robert X. Cringely (looks like Coté has seen it too. Oh... and Vinnie. And Dennis... And... oh you get the picture....)

If what he writes is true (we're in "malaise"; the company is "going nowhere") then we should all be very worried. The problem is that what he writes is not dis-similar to the general negativity on the BCS (now GBS) discussion board at The Vault. In both cases, there's a mismatch between what I read and what I experience. (I mean... if I took everything I read on the vault at face value, I'd have sunk into a deep depression a long time ago)

I thought for a while that perhaps Software Group (where I work) and Global Business Services (formerly BCS - the target of much of the negativity) were completely different and the supposed malaise was unique to GBS. However, I'm working with a lot of my GBS colleagues on my current project and I've been dazzled by their professionalism, hard work, passion and skills. Something doesn't add up...

However, given that he's written what he has, what is the best way a rational observer could make use of the observations? Well, if he's right, I should run for the hills! (Or start making more of a difference...). If he's wrong, however, then there is probably an opportunity lurking somewhere.

I'm reminded of my experience buying William Morrison stock last year. I had already decided to invest some money in a UK retailer (retail being the only business I can claim to understand apart from IT - and I already have too much human capital tied up in IT for it to be wise to invest any more real capital). I figured that the crescendo of bad news surrounding Morrison's meant that all the downside was priced into the stock and so it would be a good time to buy. So it proved. I'm now comfortably ahead (even after the recent falls on the FTSE). I'm not sure that there's a lesson for IT stock pickers (and if there is, I'm certainly not qualified or authorised to advise) but the more general lesson it taught me was: take advice, listen to experts but always trust your own judgment.

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