Saturday, February 7, 2009

Are you a builder of things?

Can you also be a destroyer of things you have built?

As I watched the classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai I wondered if hubris could really cause someone to lose sight of the greater cause. I think the answer is yes. As we have seen proven over and over throughout the course of history.

imageIn the movie the fictional character of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson was played by Sir Alec Guinness and he has a grand vision that the bridge would survive the war and be a symbol of the people that built it.

In the end Col Nicholson finally realizes that his vision of building a bridge for future generations was warping his view. He exclaims “What have I done?” just before falling, mortally wounded, onto the detonator thus completing the cycle of creation and destruction.

Switching to the present day I wonder how we will be judged. Do we have the capability and capacity to destroy what we have created? I have worked in the high technology industry for many years and I have seen the cycle of creation many times. However, when it comes to destruction side of the cycle I’ve not seen a lot of change.

This has been particularly true in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space where old line systems from the traditional Big 3 ECM vendors have built a loyal following and they just keep cranking out the license fees year after year.

It will be interesting to see how the impact of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) impacts the market place. Will customers be able to see past their legacy systems? Will existing ECM vendors adopt new ways of thinking? Will new entrants to the ECM market gain share and help speed the next wave of creation and destruction?

While I mentioned the Enterprise Content Management space I think this post applies to pretty much everything we do – both personally and professionally.

Is hubris preventing you from destroying something you have created?

clip_image002 About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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chrisg said...

its going to be interesting times, especially for SaaS. Still not sure what will unfold there.

Nile said...

Even technology has its ways of being destroyed. I have found it time and time again it applies to just about anything, even websites. I have been a website developer for a long time, but if you do not have the time, then it usually falls to dust. And the same applies if you have a group of people in a project. You constantly have to remold or redo certain things to not destroy your work by letting it fade away.