Enterprise hits and misses - the cheeky 2016 year-end awards edition

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 28, 2016
Welcome to a special year-end, cheeky awards edition of hits and misses, with some unusual "best of" picks - and a few whiffs mixed in for good measure.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica pick: best of 2016 selections by "The team"

quotage: "The solution is quite simple when you think about it. Chertavian was speaking at Pega’s annual user conference in Las Vegas this week, where he explained to delegates that in America right now there are six million young adults that are disconnected from stable career pathways (often because of their socio-economic background, as well as the colour of their skin). Meanwhile, in America there are 12 million jobs that will require post-secondary education that will go unqualified in the next decade." - Derek du Preez, Plugging the tech skills gap by giving disadvantaged young adults a chance

myPOV: For the holiday week at diginomica, our beloved taskmaster editorial savant Stuart Lauchlan assigns us the unenviable project of wading through a year's worth of our own stories, in search of a shred of lasting insight. Actually, it's a great chore exercise - each author is able to focus on their high points, forget the forgettable, and set the tone for 2017.

Bonus: this year, each of us added one pick that inspired us from our diginomica brethren, well, except for Den, who - I know you'll be absolutely gobsmacked to hear this - did things his own way. Above quotage hails from my pick, Derek's Plugging the tech skills gap by giving disadvantaged young adults a chance, of which speaks to my stomping ground: companies ignore/under-utilize diverse talent pools while whining about skills shortages.

Honorable mention to Phil Wainewright, with an incisive job framing a momentous US election in How the Right got its hands on all the best data – and paid Facebook to call the tunes.  Without further ado, here's the full year end rundown:

  • diginomica 2016 – Jessica’s Choice - For those who are down on 2016, feel free to borrow Jess' mantra: "You can’t polish a t*rd, but you can roll it in glitter." She also picks some standouts from her bread-and-butter: the customer use case.   is probably the best piece of enterprise prose I've read this year, full of piercing barbs and sacred Silicons cows milked to perfection.
  • diginomica 2016 – Barb’s choice - Always a treat to read Barb's field-tested views on digital marketing and that elusive "customer experience." Here's her picks of the litter.
  • diginomica 2016 – Phil’s choice - Not hard to pick the standout here: Phil sees signs that the long-awaited "frictionless enterprise" he's envisioned is finally arriving.
  • diginomica 2016 – Den’s choice - Some vintage Howlett here. For stellar writing,  "Time for adult supervision at Domo?"  might be the best piece of enterprise prose I've read this year, full of piercing barbs and sacred Silicon Valley cows milked to perfection.
  • diginomica 2016 – Martin’s choice - My personal fave from Martin's thoughtful reportage: "Don’t wait for your business to be disrupted, hybridise it."

As for yours truly, I scraped my best-of off the tarmac, with a few standout podcasts tossed in. Themes included: "The rise of personalization – and the unfulfilled promise of customer experience," "AI and chatbots – probing for viable use cases," "Zero paid ads, brand zealotry, and the new media enterprise," and "Enterprise UX matures – and changes the content game forever." Mix in the viability of enterprise blockchains, IoT security meltdowns, Girls Who Code and closing the skills gap, and you've got my 2016. Plus a special thanks to you - the vocal reader.

Oh, and hold on to your collective pantsuits a little while longer. Some heavy hitters are coming... watch this space for Derek and Janine's picks of the year.

Best of the rest - the cheeky 2016 awards

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
And now for some year-end awards, imbued with as much prestige as my scattershot will allow:
  • The "most delightfully cynical blog post title of the year award"  -
    Some very stiff competition for this one. Totally honorable mention to Ray Wang's adorable Why A Bi-Modal Approach to Digital Transformation Is Just Stupid, but Tom Foremski gets the gold medal with the slide-deck-destroying Wearables Are Generating A Tsunami Of Useless Medical Data.
  • The "article I still have open in my browser two years later award" - I should probably refresh Chrome more often, but Brian Sommer's As IT's industrial age ends, the humanist era begins is still open in my browser window - that must mean something. Sommer's spunky stylings, of course, are now posted on diginomica.com for your reading enjoyment.
  • The "most likely to take issue with your view on robotics and the future of work award" - Though Phil Fersht and Denis Pombriant deserve mention, it's Vinnie Mirchandani with a decisive win here. Mirchandani has his work cut out for him keeping "pessimists," job loss alarmists, and techno-critics - including me - on their toes. Nothing draws a Mirchandani missive faster than a post on Universal Basic Income - see the spicy comment thread on Den's Book review: Raising the Floor – making the case for UBI. Snark aside, these three have done plenty advance this discussion in 2016.
  • "Wow, your web site isn't full of crappy ad tech and pop-ups award" - This was the year I pulled the plug on featuring any content in hits/misses from Forbes.com due to their overwhelming onslaught of ad tech crud (Which tech news site has the sorriest ad tech UX?). ZDNet is now on the chopping block. But most enterprisey web sites are right behind. However, hats off to the fine folks at The New Stack for a superior reader UX. Their best stuff regularly makes it into this column.
  • The "next time can you super size it?" award" - Brevity has its virtues, but several bloggers always seem to push away from the table with insights left unsaid. I'd like to see a few longer-form efforts in 2017 from cloud blogger David Linthicum (a past winner) and ZDNet enterprise maestro Larry Dignan. (Dignan occasionally unfurls a longer form keeper to remind us he's still the best when he flexes). A lesson for all, especially the self-appointed gurus out there: you can't maintain your thought leader status while keeping your best thoughts to yourself.
  • "Gee, this tech blogger is pretty good award" - Ben Thompson, the one man band behind Stratechery, mostly writes on consumer tech darlings like Apple and Facebook. No, his articles aren't easily skimmed. But that's the point. Sometimes I take issue with Thompson and his Facebook infatuations, but he always makes me think (and he was hard on Facebook for the fake news debacle). Bonus: with Thompson, brevity is never a problem.
  • The "most likely to figure out a way to bring up blockchain while commenting on your diginomica blog post" award - this one's a dead heat, a tie between frequenty diginomica commenters and blockchain enthusiasts Greg Misiorek and Clive Boulton. I just taped audio with the two of them, look out for a piece soon.
  • The "no legacy analyst firm jokes around here award" - for the third straight year, Gartner's Hank Barnes behaved like a startup with straight-talking posts on customer advocacy, positioning your brand, and doing right by the customer. Sharing data for the blog win.
  • The "best candidate for a productive retirement award" - Though Naomi Bloom officially retired from her enterprise pre-occupations, something tells me we'll be hearing from her often. Exhibit A: her ongoing HR tech detective fiction and cautionary tale, Death by Lousy HRM.


The "fresh voice cutting through the BS" award" - goes, appropriately enough, to Josh Bernoff of Without Bullshit, who deconstructed PR-laded buzzcrud and political spinjobs, while making an impassioned case for better business communications.  Host Analytics CEO Dave Kellogg has also made his mark with a management-themed blog that is shockingly readable, as in: The Opportunity Cost of Debating Facts. And if RedMonk's Fintan Ryan keeps authoring posts like On the Myth of the 10X Engineer and the Reality of the Distinguished Engineer, he'll be a regular around here.

"Most likely to appear in hits and misses awards"- Based on an (extremely) unscientific count, this year's winners are: Lora Cecere, Doug Henschen, Phil Fersht, Dave Kellogg, Ben Thompson, and of course, Holger "tarmac" Mueller. And no, I didn't count appearances in the "whiffs" section.

"Best batting average per blog post award" - Some peeps don't blog often, but when they do, it winds up in hits and misses. RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady is the perennial first prizer, but Frank Scavo is habitually on target (The Growing Circle of Cloud ERP).

Your certificates are coming - suitable for framing - I'm sure of it. And yeah, no whiffs section this week, but if you sniff closely, I mixed them in throughout. Over to you, Clive...

Which #ensw writers of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Updated Dec. 28, 8pm PT with additional links for context.

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 - Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Santa Claus sitting at home and writing on old paper roll to do © Kirill Kedrinski - all from Fotolia.com.

Read more on: