Enterprise hits and misses - tech gets political and the IoT gets a caution

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 6, 2017
In this edition - tech gets political and so do we. Plus: IoT gets a critical review as smart cities go under the microscope. Your whiffs include unplugging airlines, deleting production systems, and defying tornados.

Happy children eating apple
Lead story - Tech gets political - by Stuart, Derek, and Jerry

You couldn't avoid the clash of tech and politics this week as tragic real world events forced the issue. Tech companies are now compelled to carve out a role in these debates, and - like it or not - choose sides. Tech media sites like diginomica are in that same position. Informing readers without taking strong positions is a farce, so we make our stance clear and you can decide.

Derek hits on the cybersecurity aftershocks and ill-advised fingerpointing in Theresa May criticised for blaming London’s terror attack on the Internet. Stuart addresses diversity issues and tech's role in Back to the bathroom as tech alliance takes on Texas LGBTQ discrimination. Jerry confronts an underlying issue in The FCC plan to kill net neutrality. Then Stuart goes jugular in Tech v Trump - America First, Planet Earth...not so much.

Diginomica two - my top two stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Lead story: A tale of two HPs - by Stuart and Martin. It was a meaty week of HP commentary on diginomica, with analysis of HP, HPE, and... in memory disruption?

A few more vendor picks, (mostly) without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - Barb's got a provocative piece for marketing/data buffs to consider, To have or not to have a CMO. She rolls out a keeper: "Without the right data, you don’t know the customer, but without the right story, the customer doesn’t know you."

Den's got your lunchbreak have-a-think special with Purpose and responsibility - a response to Phil Fersht's job elimination rant. I really like the end note on "invocation to purpose" - even if it means riding with my frenemy-at-large Mark Zuckerberg. Finally, take a stroll down Jess' digital garden in
Connectivity in bloom at Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Lead story - Rise of the machines: who is the ‘internet of things’ good for? by Adam Greenfield

Quotage: "Quite simply, we need to understand that creating an algorithm intended to guide the distribution of civic resources is itself a political act. And, at least for now, nowhere in the current smart-city literature is there any suggestion that either algorithms or their designers would be subject to the ordinary processes of democratic accountability."

myPOV: Greenfield's IoT critique hits on two points: the problematic impact of personal datastreaming services, and, on a different front, the danger of "smart cities" planning that assumes benevolent or neutral algorithms. The thread between them is that data is never neutral. You might find value in a button on your pet's bowl that automatically reorders pet food, but Amazon gets even more value out of the aggregated yous.

Greenfield isn't trashing smart cities but he's warning that measuring data doesn't make an activity objective, and smart cities will be dangerous - or at least ethically problematic - if we don't insert advocates for public well being into the lab and/or boardroom of the algo makers.

Whiffy bonus: in Smart cities are as stupid as the people who make them, Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow brazenly cynically tactically leverages Greenfield's article with the patented Boing Boing linkbait headline. Also see: Joe McKendrick's Without enterprise architecture, the Internet of Things is just... things.

Honorable mention

Mary Meeker puts out slides, the enterprise waits for context - It's an annual tradition to get Mary Meeker's monster Internet trends slide deck, which has the dubious honor of being the "most anticipated slide deck of the year." Then we scour through it looking for enterprise takeaways.

Re/code posted some "analysis" of the slides, which works if you like your analysis as light as tissue paper (you can download the slides from there also). Vinnie Mirchandani took a concise look from an enterprise angle, mostly to point out that consumer trends dominate the report - which, given the influence of Amazon, Google etc on the enterprise, isn't irrelevant. Mirchandani contends that enteprise tech is "riding the coattails" of the Amazons/Facebooks etc.


Overworked businessman
Fancy few more? Shall we start with this dude?

This latest wish-it-was-fiction from British Airways:

Good to see the karmic system isn't broken: these bound-for-Harvard lobotomites got booted by the school for their boorish Facebook antics. And yet karma isn't so fair to this poor sod who accidentally deleted his employer's production system on his first day on the job (and was instantly fired). Nice to see the reader poll fingers the CTO for this gaffe as well. When a first day employee can nuke the production system, the entire IT team should be updating their LinkedIn profiles.

Speaking of which, Bob Warfield is not pleased with LinkedIn groups closing down their APIs (Get Ready to Give up On LinkedIn for Marketing). But there's a baby/bathwater thing going on here - and the API thing is a mixed bag. I don't blame LinkedIn for wanting to prevent folks from auto-posting into twenty groups at will - that's not marketing, that's carpet blasting.

And it turned most LinkedIn groups into unreadable cesspools. That said Warfield is right to warn about putting too much trust in walled gardens. If I could endorse Warfield on LinkedIn for "properly crusty," I would. Over to you, Clive.

This is a truncated "Jon feels the road burn" version of hits and misses, which by definition excludes some worthy content - from diginomica and beyond. If you read an #ensw piece that qualifies, let me know in the comments as Clive always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, New Relic, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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