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What Legacy?

February 5, 2016

I’m not sure I even care about a legacy. 

Yeah, but when you’ve left the industry, will your efforts or writings be remembered?

My friend an I were having a discussion about our influence in the IT industry. Our names would probably not be familiar to your average IT worker. Certainly we’d never be mentioned in a college lecture on IT. And we were not deluding ourselves that would be the case. 

But, more than almost any other industry, IT and computers in general, allow common, ordinary people to make significant and sometimes exceptional contributions to the industry and the world. Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg inventing Facebook in his dorm room, or Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founding Apple in a garage. The history of computers is filled with influencers.

My friend and I recognized that while we were not going to be Bill Gates, or Bob Metcalfe (invented Ethernet) we were capable of influencing our industry beyond our current roles. I’m not sure I cared. 

Don’t get me wrong. I was once the world expert on a particular IT process, (migrating Exchange 5.5 to GroupWise.) There are benefits to being an expert. Not the least of which was that I earned $125/hour consulting. But, I’d also done a couple of computer books. They sold reasonable well, but they were quickly obsolete. Today, they are worthless for anything other than a bucket list check mark. 

Technology in the IT industry turns over about every 18 months. Today’s expert, if he doesn’t continue to study will find his skills woefully outdated in just a couple of years. Making a lasting impact in that environment is very difficult. 

What about your blog? Don’t you see that as building a legacy?

Not really. You know the legacy that I really care about? It’s going to sound corny, but it’s my kids. A hundred years from now, I don’t care if the IT world has a shred of anything I wrote or did. But, if my grandkids and great-grandkids have strong families and a fond memory of my lovely wife and me, that’s the only legacy that I really care about.

So, you’ve given up the idea of doing a management book this year? 

Well, I didn’t say that. It might sell for 18 months or so.

What’s your legacy?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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