Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, a VC and IDG board member, used this article to try and end the Carr hysteria once and for all. He (a little too emotionally) argues that if business leaders end up believing Carr, he will “run their companies –and our (US) economy – into a ditch.”
I also like this insight:
Many commentators have debunked Carr’s article since in appeared last year…But Carr’s article just won’t stay debunked.
When I read those sentences, I remembered a post I made on InfoWorld’s TechWatch blog last year, quoting John Cleese who chided developers at a Sun conference:
"The crap architecture (you built) contains major management flaws that only you can fix. Clever, but sly."
One of the great mysteries of our industry is our reliance on products that time and again prove to be unreliable or complicated. And so we are forever obliged to keep repairing and improving those products or the whole system comes unstuck. It's not perfect, but it's how IT works.
So this is where I feel Carr’s approach comes up short. I agree with Metcalfe:
If business executives follow Carr’s advice, who will provide innovation’s test beds? How will new technologies find their markets?
It’s a fact of life that not everyone can buy mature IT products. Someone has to go first. And in doing so will have some form of competitive advantage – and who knows for exactly how long?
Perhaps one of the reasons why this debate will not go away is because Carr has attacked the fundamental principles of how the IT industry at large operates - and will continue to operate.
So will Metcalfe end the Carr debate? I don’t think so. But you know what? Given all the healthy signs of growth I see around the industry, I don’t think it matters, so to speak.