commentary

Shadow IT coming out into the light?

Shadow IT coming out into the light?

Shadow IT thrived in the early years of desktop computing. But system complexity and security demands shut down the non-IT users performing IT functions. Cloud computing, software as a service and IT responsiveness issues are bringing Shadow IT back into the light. Good or bad? That jury is still out. 

A shortage of qualified talent? Really?

The Inc Magazine newsletter today includes an item that caught my eye and made me scratch my head. The author - Esther Dyson, a Silicon Valley invester - posits that many people make incorrect career choices - choosing the entrepreneurial path - rather than working for someone else. Why? "The search for glory." 


I am a bit puzzled by the piece (read it on the Project Syndicate web site), especially given the times we live in. The writer draws contrasts between the U.S. and other parts of the world where entrepreneurism is not glorified. Still, Dyson says, even in those countries there's a lack of qualified talent because "Most people would rather work for an establish company or for the government." 


"The ecosystem of middle managers is starving", she writes, as people who would make "perfectly good project supervisors or salespeople establish their own companies."


While Dyson sees this as a choice, in our economy, it appears more as a defense mechanism. If there is a shortage of talent to fill mid-level jobs, you can't prove it by spending a few hours at your local unemployment office, talking to many of your friends and former colleagues or attending networking functions. 


People I used to see at Networking events who were actively looking for jobs a year to a 18 months ago -- including me -- have given up a fruitless and demoralizing search in favor of hanging out a shingle and hoping to ride the entrepreneurial wave. Many of them would be happier with the steady income and quasi-comfort zone that a full-time job offers. But those opportunities just are not there. 


If I am wrong and there are companies out there struggling to find qualified, experienced middle management candidates, then I throw down the gauntlet. Lines are open and the largest pool of potential candidates - many, if not most, with considerably reduced financial expectations - are ready to take your call. 

Harnessing the power of the unemployed

It's disturbing to read articles about companies refusing to consider unemployed applicants for jobs. Many - perhaps most of those who became unemployed since 2008 - are in that situation through no fault of their own. Part of Portfolio's mission is to "harness the power of the unemployed" by using these outstanding experts who are now available to work for our clients. For businesses that aren't recognizing what a tremendous talent pool is out there, I'm sorry for you, but better for us.



Some of my friends and readers may think I'm newspaper bashing, but it's not true. I love newspapers. So it saddens me to read in the NYTimes that 2009 was the worst year for the newspaper industry ( http://tinyurl.com/yao4fmf) since 2008 (which was the worst year since the Depression). But it is even more depressing to read (http://tinyurl.com/ykev33j) that Tokyo researchers have created a robot that performs what the article describes as "journalism". Wrong. A robot may be able to take a series of sports stats and turn it into a reasonable facsimile of a sports story. But a robot cannot be a journalist. Sadly this is an craft grossly undervalued at most newspapers today.