Controversy and Paradigm Shifts
Well I finally gave my TechEd presentation 'Bits to Bolts: Bridging the Gap between the Solutions and Infrastructure Architecture' and I got exactly what I wanted out of it: controversy. There were some things that I would do differently of course to have made the content a little bit more effective in terms of delivery but given the craziness of the months preceding TechEd, I couldn't afford to. It was the first Architecture track session after lunch which is always a tough one to get to and I was expecting the worst; I believe the track planner was as well because I was placed in a relatively smaller room. To my surprise, the room was packed and people were sitting on the floor. I believe there were around 300+ people in there. The topic that I spoke on is very broad and it was always frustrating to me during rehearsals because I wanted to go into more detail in certain areas but the time would not permit it. But that was to be expected given it was an Architecture session at level 200. As soon as I was done I was surrounded by a crowd of people giving praises and jeers about the presentation: I was elated. Regardless of differences of opinions, I believe the subject matter is one of the most important challenges facing IT today.
Media companies have known it for years, the best way to get cheap advertising is through controversy. If you can appeal to the emotions, whether positive or negative, of the audience then they become advertising agents. We are a curious species and when someone talks about something in a positive or (especially) negative way, we instantly want to discover our own opinions on the matter. It's getting people to spend their precious (and mostly idle) CPU cycles on a problem that is the challenge of today with all of the detail and noise. So that was my goal: present a high level treatise on what this 'divide' consists of and some high-level considerations for bridging it. I am planning on continuing my publication efforts with a series of written discussions on the subject that will allow for greater detail.
This is how the craft of architecture evolves. Breaking away from the mainstream and traditional and putting something out there that causes a stir and disruption; such a theme is the intellectual worm, trojan, and bot that ceases upon the curiosity of the mind and commands the processing power to be used on the subject of the dissenter. Hopefully the subject matter is enough to cause people to re-think all that has been considered conventional and result in a paradigm shift; a supernova of sorts that yields a new source of radiant energy and light as well as provide the base materials for evolution. Like the field of cryptography, the best way to improve the field is through proving the fallacies of the mainstream; cracking the code and exploiting that which it sought to safeguard is sometimes the only way thought can be focused to continually improve. This of course could apply universally... Did the United States actually realize how vulnerable and penetrable it was until 9/11? That is subject to interpretation as much as whether the US knew about Pearl Harbor's pending infamy. The question is, once we are faced with a potentially new paradigm - what do we do about it?