I've seen this pattern for years in the industry ("Let Common Sense Guide Security ROI," Oct. 20, 2003). Most executives traditionally pay little heed to security expenditures until the company's infrastructure gets compromised--then it becomes more important than revenue.
Most IT executives have had to bundle security expenditures inside of solid infrastructure-improvement business cases (which can demonstrate a valid ROI), and, consequently, we succeed in spite of the "grudge spend" mentality at the board level.
Deputy Technology Leader, IMC
U.S. management in many cases continues to go for the short-term return ("Precious Connection," Oct. 20, 2003). If a management team can get an offshore programmer for $25,000 a year, why pay three times that here at home? It saves money, and the stockholders feel good; bonuses are paid. Having achieved a victory, the management team moves on to the next company. Then it hits home that the first company has little or no R&D remaining and that their technical skills are in the hands of others.
Outsourcing for certain things can be beneficial, but surrendering intellectual property and not retaining the bulk of the value add is a sure road to destruction. But, heck, the numbers look good in the short term.
Norman R. Dotti
President, Knorr Associates, Butler, N.J.
I can summarize my feelings in a single word: bravo ("About Linux: An Open Letter To Microsoft," Oct. 20, 2003). This is something that has needed to be said for a long time.
Bob Evans has demonstrated extraordinary courage in communicating these all-too-obvious truths to Microsoft.
Freelance Writer, St. David, Ariz.
In the grand scheme of project management, one typically strives to have all negotiations and contract dealings be win-win. Mr. Evans did a very risky thing: He openly critiqued
Microsoft. Lately, that's been career ending. He did so with an open challenge to the company to come to the party and play well with the other kids on the block--and work to have even more kids join in the party.
This is the best critique that could be offered to Microsoft: a challenge to work with the other players and, in fact, we'll have a win-win in the best of things for Microsoft, and everybody else, including partners, competitors, and users.
James L. Szatkowski
President, JL Szatkowski, Consulting Engineer, Boise, Idaho
Special Treatment For Artists
If you loan me your Chevrolet, do I owe a royalty to Chevy ("Need An Answer? Ask A Teenager," Oct. 13, 2003)? To your mechanic? To the people in the cloth factory that made the fabric for the seats? To the Japanese company that made the computer chip inside the ignition switch? No, of course not. So why would (or should) I pay a royalty to musicians or actors? Why are they better than the rest of the world?
If I borrow a piece of writing from an author, as long as I give credit, it's legal and done regularly by many.
As such, if someone borrows a song from an album, wouldn't writing the author's name on the CD take care of that? Or even filing it on the computer under the artist's name?
So make sure next time you loan someone a sweater you bought in the mall that you send the store, the mall, the manufacturer, and the farmer of the wool a royalty check.
The point is, where does it all end? Why are "artists" any better than the rest of us?
Owner, Buyer's Haven
In "People First: Execs Worry About Effect On Employees" (Oct. 20, 2003), Altria Corp.'s San Antonio facility should have been described as a business-processing center.