Global CIO: World Of Warcraft, Not The DoD, Will Drive IT

Our intrepid CIO, Stu Laura, on why the people who understand things like space age algorithms and voice and facial recognition will be the masters of the future IT universe
So you're going to stop recruiting at Carnegie Mellon and put up a stand outside Toys "R" Us?

"Look, the gaming industry gets it: color displays, interactive, high-speed, basic infrastructure. Show me a kid who understands Kinect, who understands the underlying technology behind space age algorithms, who 'gets' voice recognition, hand gestures, facial recognition, and I will show you someone who's going to take my job someday – soon."

Surely, Stu, you're overstating your case.

"No, I'm not. The R&D departments of HP, IBM, Oracle, and Cisco have given us bupkis for the last five years. They keep buying companies because their R&D departments keep coming up with nothin! Their old model was do to special work on contract for the government, then build industrial strength versions for the general market. Ain't working."

So the military-to-industry model is broken?

"Yep, like a three-dollar watch. Look, we learned a lot about span of control, line and staff, and mission metrics from the military, but the world I'm living in today means we're creating IT solutions with our suppliers and our customers -- which means a world of real-time cooperation from remote locations. The military service academies someday will require your video game scores instead of your college boards -- and I might want to do the same thing."

There you have it. Most of the innovative work on cloud computing didn't come from the usual suspects, and Stu, as always, is way ahead of the pack.

It's National Go Hug a Geek Week. Go make a friend. Bring Skittles.

GlobalCIO Howard Anderson, founder of Yankee Group and co-founder of Battery Ventures, is currently the William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT. He can be reached at [email protected].

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO.

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