Sane People, Insane Statements

June 23, 2009 – 9:06 am

My new favorite book “Re-Imagine” by Tom Peters if full of paragraphs titled “Sane People, Insane Statements.  The are statements from sane people that cause you to pause and say “holly crap, what if…”.  For example Greg Blonder, venture capitalist and former chief technical advisor for corporate strategy at AT&T said, “In 25 years, you’ll probably be able to get the sum total of all human knowledge on a personal device.”   Crazy?  A little. Unimaginable? Apparently not.

Today, the semi-sane Vlad writes “The only bright news for the VAR industry is that there is plenty of work out there painting and putting up drywall in all the forclosure properties.”

Is he wrong as he summarizes his predictions of the impact of cloud computing?

Why don’t you form a quick opinion. 

Try this.

Image a world where computers have no need for local data storage. 

Imaging a world where the small/medium business owners have spent their entire academic life using computing with data in the cloud such as they do at most universities and entertainment applications (like ITunes) don’t care where their data is located as long as they can access it anytime from anywhere with the application and devices of their choice. 

Imagine how they won’t need someone installing and maintaining hardware and software for them.  Now, imagine this allows them to run their businesses more efficiently and affordably.  Say it can’t happen!  Say it won’t happen!  Or, stop kidding yourself and open your eyes.  It is happening and faster that you know.  Now, imagine your role if your current revenue is going to be eliminated by that transformation. 

So, can you re-imagine where you will be in 5 years.  You better dare to start dreaming now…

  1. 7 Responses to “Sane People, Insane Statements”

  2. Well, not so fast.

    Yes, large parts of my potenial client base are open to this “utopia”. A large part of the earth was enthralled with communism, too. And a ton of people would jump off a cliff if you threw the latest Apple product off. Lets acknowledge that there are lots of followers out there that jump at the next new idea that sounds sexy.

    Mind you, I am not saying that there is no place for cloud services. But they have to be applied thoughtfully. And you have to be sensitive to what the client can mentally accept.

    My “Cotton Farmers”, as Vlad likes to refer to them, mostly want to know that their data is stored on devices that they own and control. Sure, I can sell them encrypted storage of their data in the cloud or initial email filtering, but anything beyond that is much more difficult.

    This transition will not be over in 5 years or 10. Those vars that have an intelligent blending of the onsite and cloud services will be ahead of the cloud only folks.

    Ken

    By Ken Edwards on Jun 24, 2009

  3. I think you are right in the blend mentality but the more cloud based the market becomes, the more commoditized our space will be, and the services side will be easy to fill by the big guys once the customer has abandoned the trusted advisor for the quick, easy and cheap model. Staples just undercut a local managed print / IT shop here and stole the customer. They then came in and offered the managed IT too. Get you game face on because whether it is 1 year or 10 years, all cloud or blended doesn’t matter. The game IS changing.

    By Mark on Jun 24, 2009

  4. You will always be able to sell anything to anyone - the question is if you’ll be able to make a real business out of it or just a passing hobby.

    On the other hand, it’s a betting game. Taking myself and my opinions and knowledge and really everything else out of the game: Who would I bet on? Ken Edwards or Google/Microsoft/Intuit/Apple?

    -Vlad

    By Vlad Mazek on Jun 24, 2009

  5. Tom Peters is known to throw a rant or two and he is given a bit to hyperbole, but all in all, I think he is right. I am up to chapter 4 of the audio version of the book (thanks Mark!) and I find that as he speaks, he causes my mind to keep wandering off on tangents based on where I see my small business going in the (not so distant) future.

    One theme I see in his book so far is that whatever the commodity that the featured company is known for, the way they are making real money now is by stacking services, synergistic features and great customer *experiences* on top of the traditional offering.

    My Managed Service offering is all-in with backup, spam filtering, A/V, helpdesk, M-A-C, VCIO, and h/w replacement labor and I am thinking that this won’t even be enough in a couple of years. YET, there are those still in break/fix or T&M. Amazing.

    Prediction: When the GenX/GenY cohort moves out of their mom’s spare bedroom and starts creating a LOT of businesses, THAT is when the transition will really begin. Also, with so many smart people being thrown out on the street in the last year, they are going to embrace the cloud as they necessarily start new businesses, which will just accellerate the GenX/GenY phenomenom.

    JMHO.

    Randy

    By Randy Spangler on Jun 24, 2009

  6. Mark, I agree that IT will have some of the same issues as the Office Supplies market. Almost no one buys directly from an independent office supplies store unless they are in a small town not served by a big box retailer.
    Vlad, I personally would bet on those big guys as I do not have the market size and money to shift the market in any specific direction.
    Gentlemen, I am sure that I will lose clients along the way. I have been losing clients for the last 3 years as I shift my client base to those that are willing to pay premium prices as long as I take great care of them.
    As to cloud computing, my clients will not completely move their infrastructure into the cloud within 5 years. That is my opinion based on 23 years dealing with my clients, and nothing more.

    By Ken Edwards on Jun 26, 2009

  7. I’ll put my money on Ken and I will bet a dollar to everything you own I am right. I say this for one reason - this is not a zero-sum game, my friends. It is a game with multiple possible outcomes. The reason why there are multiple possible outcomes involves every-changing legal requirements as much as anything else.

    Not every business or occupation can put their data in the cloud today and meet the regulatory requirements with which they must comply. I am sure that someone will find a way to meet some of those requirements and a certain subset of businesses might very well be able to go all-in when it comes to the cloud. But I think it is a bit naive to think that all businesses will be able to move everything to the cloud or that they even might want to.

    I completely agree that our business models will be forced to change as the technology around us continues to morph at a very rapid rate. Those of us who have been working with computers for the past thirty years or so have grown up with a plethora of changes over that time and we have adapted to them in order to stay relevant. Change itself is a constant that will never change for us. So let’s at least be honest here and acknowledge that whenever we speak in absolutes, something jumps up and bites in a sensitive place. Computing will change, we will have to adapt and undoubtedly many of us will not be doing the same thing in five or ten years that we are doing today. But some of us will still be in business and we will be happy doing whatever it is we are doing. It’s all because it’s not a zero-sum game. And the big unknown factor will always be our beloved government and the politicians who know better than us how everything should and must be run.

    By Bob Nitrio on Jun 26, 2009

  8. For your sakes and Ken’s, I hope to god you have fat savings balance or a big retirement account.

    -Vlad

    By Vlad Mazek on Jun 28, 2009

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