Saturday, January 20, 2007

Note to Tech Industry: Don't Believe the Hype

Okay, I know that will never, ever happen. But it grows so tiring. There always seems to be some new technology or methodology that will be the Silver Bullet. This happens even if the leading proponents of the New It Thing openly acknowledge and even precede their proselytizing with that disclaimer.

Just since I've been in the industry, I can think of dozens of things that came along that were sometimes great tools to add to the toolbelt, sometimes not, but always way, way, way overhyped: OOP, UML, RUP, CMM, Java, .NET, Ruby on Rails, Spring, Network Computers, Agile (XP, Scrum, etc.), Web 2.0.

It's even funnier when it's specific products - like the iPhone. When announced, we had people claiming it was going to change everything. Huh? C'mon, let's not take consumerist fetishism any further into hyperbole, okay? It seems to have a cute interface and all, and I suspect that may incrementally change things. I know techies are especially guilty of consumerist fetishism, but it was plain embarrassing to see people who are otherwise probably reasonably intelligent acting like sheople over an electronic device. Even funnier, a week later, CNN toned down their rhetoric (again, over a consumer electronic device, people!) and talked about how people in Tokyo sort of said "ho-hum" about the iPhone - since it only uses 2G network for data and they've been on 3G for years...

At least with something like the iPhone, I can safely ignore it and laugh behind my hand at all the goofiness of my fellow domesticated primates. When my entire industry comes under the sway of the latest newest thing (meanwhile pretending to forget all the lessons of the past, or else having learned nothing, I guess) I have to pretend as if others that can influence my job are speaking or thinking intelligently when they become infected by the same meme as the rest of the industry.

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