JS: How is it that you're the only CIO left in the United States?
TC: It was a combination of factors. First, outsourcing gave college students the heebie-jeebies, and computer science graduates dropped to zero. Then the baby boomer CIOs retired and died off. Then on-demand computing obviated the need for technology managers, so nobody went into the profession. I got promoted due to my experience as a hostage negotiator.
JS: So that whole Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 thing really took off, huh?
TC: Yeah. We're up to Web 27.5 now. Though the corporate side is only up to Enterprise 9.3. I don't know how those got out of sync.
JS: Do you work at one company, or do you spread your talents around?
TC: I go where I'm needed. Network upgrade schedules being what they are, I spend a little time each year at just about every company and government organization in the country. That's reflected in the change in the meaning of the title CIO: It now stands for chief itinerant officer.
JS: So I guess some of the trends we're speculating about now, like cloud computing, became standard operating procedure.
TC: Except today it's called "space computing," because most of the heavy processing is done on the data center platforms sent into geocentric orbit by Google and Oraclesoft. That helped enormously with the issue of heat dissipation and cooling. And it gave new meaning to the term "offshore outsourcing."
JS: What about software as a service?
TC: That really took off. Now you have all kinds of permutations, like software as a lifestyle, which is the country's fastest-growing religion, or software as a companion, which is actually illegal in several states. The latest trend in the corporate world is called "service as some software," which we refer to as "SaSS." Some people actually go into stores and buy boxes with shiny discs in them, and then plug those discs into their machines. It's kind of a retro thing, I guess.
JS: What about computer security? With your geographically dispersed workload, isn't security tough to stay on top of?
TC: Under federal law, all computer security was outsourced to Blackwater several years ago. It has more hackers on its payroll than the Russian mafia. The criminals are the ones worried now.
JS: To whom do you report?
TC: Every CFO in the country, God help me.
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