Thursday, November 16, 2006


A tale of two bloggers: Petrilli vs Robertson

Chris Petrilli is one blogger who seems genuine in terms of wanting to provide insight to others as to problems within the enterprise. I wonder what James Robertson and the SmallTalk jamboree could learn by reading what he is saying vs simply viewing it as an contrarian perspective to my own.

Chris posted a blog entitled: Shooting fish in a red barrel that was dead on. Chris and are 100% in agreement that large analyst firms are doing enterprises a disservice by us paying them to be smarter than us and to be ahead of the curve, not trail it by a decade. The better conversation though is not to simply acknowledge this as a problem but to brainstorm solutions.

If you acknowlege that you cant ween enterprisey folks away from reading analyst reports, yet the large analyst firms won't provide meaningful coverage of topics that matter then maybe the answer is we as a community of influential bloggers encourage enterprisey folks to get their research from smaller firms who will provide meaningful coverage. Maybe it starts with us enterprisey types encouraging other enterprisey types to start following analysts such as James Governor of Redmonk, Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links and Raven Zachary of the 451 Group. Don't just acknowledge the problem, become part of the solution. Add these folks to your blogroll and encourage other bloggers to do the same.

In terms of Chris perspective on Indian outsourcing firms and the need to keep hundreds of thousands of folks employed noting that there probably isn't any incentive to increase productivity which has an effect of reducing billing, maybe we could also brainstorm some solutions to this problem space. You shouldn't be so fearful of folks who count lines of code as these types could actually become advocates to using Ruby on Rails. Enterprises love their metrics, so lets start aligning the Ruby on Rails story to this mindset. It afterall is very compelling through this lens.

I am glad in asking that can you name a Fortune 200 enterprise whose primary business isn't technology and their usage of rails that you responded but I would say that I didn't indicate a logical fallacy nor attempt to trap others in this regard. It may or may not exist, nobody knows at a public level which is more of the point than folks reading into my thinking that would hint that just because someone can't name it, it doesn't exist. That's kinda like the Ruby community calling me enterprisey simply because I believe that Ruby on Rails isn't enterprise ready.

Chris, I really wish you would expand on the notion of industry consensus as it is woofully understated. Do you know how many enterprise decisions are driven by what others are doing? For example, if Goldman Sachs were to publicize their usage of Ruby on Rails for trading applications, folks at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JPMChase, Citigroup, CSFB and others would definetely stand-up and pay attention.

Part of an EA's job is to index their enterprise against others. I do this on a daily basis from a security perspective and monitor what others are up to. Likewise, I have folks from other enterprises within my own vertical ping me to use what we are doing as an advanced form of name dropping. This actually carries even more weight than any analyst firm could ever hope for.

Do you know how many enterprises within our vertical started to adopt Liferay Enterprise Portal after they learned what I was up to? The same thing can be said for when me and my peers started openly talking about how we do Service-Oriented Architectures. One can attack this behavior to the amusement of outsiders or one can be more thoughtful and figure out how to align with it to their advantage. I would rather see Ruby become wildly successful by doing the later and ignoring the James Robertson and his inciteful commentary that provides zero value to anyone on either side.

Large enterprises have quirky behaviors on which Dilbert makes his living on making fun of. James Robertson tends to like to point out the stupidity of enterprises but never offers up any solutions as to how both parties can participate. I guess playing the game of win/lose is something he is good at. After all, he champions SmallTalk in which the vast majority of enterprises have already expressed their opinions on and have delegated it a second-class citizen behind Java and even COBOL. If the right thing happens Ruby on Rails will take an implementation leadership position over Smalltalk in 2007 further frustrating those whose job is to evangelize selling Evian to a drowning man Smalltalk.

I do though find a comment left in your blog by Dilip as interesting and begs the question of should we edit our blogs so as to not insult folks. Honestly, I would be disappointed in if you did as while highly offensive is more accurate than not. Chris keep up the good work and keeping the conversation honest...

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