• United States
IDG Enterprise Consulting Director

Basking in the glow of the Patriots’ win

Feb 06, 20045 mins
Data Center

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.H.L. Mencken

Dear Vorticians,

Those who know me would attest that I’m not one to gloat. I’m a modest man – some would say a simple man. But two Super Bowl victories in three years? How can a lad born and bred on the North Shore of Boston not take a moment to bask in the radiant glory of it all?

I’ve earned this, after all. I first saw the Pats play at Harvard Stadium, in the 1960s, before the first Super Bowl, when the altar boys for St. Florence Church got a well-deserved field trip. (And, no, I don’t remember any of the Latin mass, only the humorous variants created by my adolescent pals.) I stood by the Pats and cursed them during the lean years, hanging my head in shame when William “The Refrigerator” Perry smashed across the goal line to add insult to injury during our first Super Bowl appearance in 1986. We’ve come a long way together and this feels great.

If you’ve been keeping abreast – ahem – of your sporting news, you know that our New England Pats kept us all in cardiac arrhythmia until finally pulling out a last-minute win against a valiant Carolina Panthers team. These anti-Red Sox, as some have come to call the Pats – the Sox also keep you on the edge of your seats, but ultimately break your heart – even outshone the halftime “entertainment” that spurred the Federal Communications Commission to launch a probe into a certain indecent event. Mars probes, Super Bowl probes. What’s next?

Ah, well. Back to reality.

I want to commend you for your patience and begin the actual content portion of this newsletter by thanking everyone who wrote to congratulate me or to offer thoughts about the VORTEX 2004 conference I outlined last week.  The response was very positive and I’m pleased you’re so enthusiastic about the event that Geoffrey Moore and I are planning.

What’s that? You missed last week’s issue or you want to brush up on something I covered in an earlier edition? Well, you’re in luck, my dear Vorticians. Though it seems obvious and something we ought to have done long ago, we’ve finally created an archive of past VORTEX Digests.

The timely appearance of this archive makes it easier for me to continue a dialogue that started a couple issues back. If you’ll recall, Vortician Bill Baker responded to my discussion about the future of the IT industry by referencing a concept called Virtual Me that was raised at Vortex 2003 by speaker Peter Bernstein. Vortician Baker hailed the idea that, in the future, the data center and network infrastructure will respond more nimbly and perceptively to the needs of end users – rather than us serving the machines, as it were. You can read his views here.

That drew some concerns from Vortician Amos Satterlee, who said Virtual Me sounded a lot like the opening strains of the Big Brother symphony.

Well, those letters naturally piqued the thinking of Vortician Bernstein himself, who wrote: “John, I read with interest your latest e-mail and have a couple of observations. 

“I am delighted my friend Bill Baker is proposing a ‘Virtual Me’ vision.  I have presented this ‘vision’ in various venues this past year and CIOs and IT managers get it in less than 30 seconds. 

“Vendors are having difficulty with it because they don’t like the notion that we have moved permanently into a world governed by enterprise and individual policies and rules, as opposed to those of vendors. They remain in denial about who ‘controls’ the network and the IT/communications technology deployment agenda of the future.  The real shift of the internetworking era is that value creation is in customers’, not vendors’, hands. 

“What I have also gleaned from presentations is that customers like talks that focus on the delivery of value as opposed to the placement of boxes and software. I have also been assured that my statement that this defines the coming battle of our times between Cisco and Microsoft makes sense. Control V.ME — my location, identity (broadly defined) and the trusted environment for my time online — and you win. The recognition of this in the plans of both Cisco and Microsoft (as they stretch their respective hegemonies) is readily apparent.

“Vortician Satterlee may have misinterpreted the essence of the vision.  This is not about centralization or decentralization of the infrastructure.  The answer as to where intelligence will lie in the network is an emphatic YES!  It will be everywhere.  V.ME is not a destination.  It is a series of interactions that are under the dynamics of user-defined and administered policies and rules. Again, this is not about Xs and Os but about experiences.  Concerns about centralization and Big Brother-ism are precisely the ones that my vision is supposed to obviate, i.e., I am always/all ways setting down the rules for engagement with the outside world — subject of course to things like CALEA enforcement, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, etc.  Vortician Satterlee needs to be able to do what he likes, as he likes, when he likes, and he needs to have complete control over the parsing out to others of his location, identity and where he visits when he is online.”

Thanks Peter, for the note, and for sending along the conceptual diagram of V.ME, which I am happy to forward to other readers upon request.

Drop me a note on V.ME, the future of IT, or the Pats’ victory (a rhyme, of sorts). As always, I’m at

Bye for now.