Flexibility–and courage–the keys to thriving

The giant of the software world recently announced it was taking out a major piece of promised functionality from its next-up release (code named Longhorn). Open source folks are panting with excitement–like rival animals who attack when they see the leader showing weakness–to think they may start winning over technology executives at some of the largest businesses who’ve been sticking with Windows technology because “it’s what we’ve always done.”

Microsoft has always had a “publish-it-whole” philosophy, which is part of how they’ve conquered so much of the world. People would have had to purchase many different programs to get all the functionality they got in a single release of Microsoft Office, for instance. Open sourcers like Linux, on the other hand, develop as they go, flexibly turning to whatever seems needed at the moment.

That flexible, piecemeal approach seems to be growing more popular in lots of areas. Even as many retail businesses now try to be everything to everyone so customers won’t have to go elsewhere (gas stations selling food, grocery stores installing gas pumps, giant discount stores serving food to shoppers, restaurants selling merchandise), we see more attempts to get people to buy business services in smaller chunks and/or to farm out certain functions rather than hire and maintain inhouse expertise.

This modular, flexible approach benefits the company by keeping it lean. It’s a lot easier to fire a contractor who doesn’t deliver than it is to fire an employee whose performance falls short. And it benefits the people who’ve been downsized out of jobs by providing them with opportunities to make a living doing contract work. I just keep having to return to my analogy of our current working climate to that of the old West in America. It’s the every-man-for-himself, every-woman-on-her-own, situation that made heroes of the pioneers.

Back then it was the Rocky Mountains you had to find a way around. Today it’s the bleak-and-getting-bleaker job environment. Clearly, it’s making heroes of many of us today.

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.