The first and only in the industry? In your dreams

There is seldom something entirely new in the IT market. Even creative and innovative new products often are an outgrowth of other products that have been given a new UI, hosted on a different operating system, or based upon a different application framework. Calling these the first and only is a huge stretch.

The first and only in the industry? In your dreams

Executives of start-ups often approach me by saying something like "we're the only ones to offer this in the industry" as a way to break through the noise and schedule a briefing call. Considering the long and varied history of the computing industry, that's a pretty bold statement -- one that the executive often hasn't taken the time to support by research.

This approach usually causes me to pull out my "Computer Archaeologist" credentials and put on my Sherlock Holmes hat. Since I don't smoke, the pipe is left in the drawer.

The most recent example was a company offering cloud-based backup and archival storage services targeting mid-market companies. The first slide in the company's presentation deck touted that the company was the only one to offer such services. Since I've recently spoken to four other companies offering similar services, citing similar statistics and using similar marketing messages, I closed the deck and just filed in my 2004 Presentations folder.

It amazes me how technology from the 1960s through the early 2000s is considered a "legacy" and should be replaced with something newer by executives of many start-up companies even though this technology is the foundation for most major workloads in enterprise data centers today. They seem unfamiliar with the past, what problems were found and solved in the past. So, they blithely go where others have gone without a map and fall into the same holes that others have previously discovered, never knowing that someone built a bridge over that hole or a street around it in the past.

They don't understand that enterprise IT departments don't live to adopt new technology. They, instead, live to keep today's IT workloads humming along with no slow downs or failures and to carefully adopt new technology the company needs to solve new problems.

Resolving problems from the past just for the joy of purchasing a new product, learning how it works, integrating it into the company's IT processes and procedures is just a waste if limited and strained resources.

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