Push Technology 'Edge' -- Without Crashing says IBM's Business Transformation Specialist John Swainson at Company's WebSphere 2000

WebSphere's Developer's Conference Draws More than 2,000

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MIAMI - 27 Mar 2000: -- "Lean into the future and push the technology envelope without over-committing to a technology that will crash at the next turn of events," said John Swainson, General Manager of IBM Software's Application & Integration Middleware division, to more than 2,000 developers and IT professionals this morning at the company's WebSphere 2000 conference.

Swainson, recalling counter-culture icon Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels book, compared the "edgework" of today's IT organizations to a Harley Davidson motorcycle ride that takes place in the middle of the night, on a beach road without cars, and with lots of curves.

"It's a road where you find what Thompson calls 'the edge' -- that delicate balance of leaning into the curve where you get the maximum speed while you stay just this side of losing it altogether," said Swainson.

Swainson outlined how organizations must look at the future in order to survive: what's coming at them, how they can make the best use of it, and how they can prepare for what lies ahead. Ultimately, he said, the best way to predict the future is to help create it -- assuming risk and accepting that "nothing ventured means nothing gained."

"Psychologists and economists talk about the various degrees to which people are either 'risk accepting' or 'risk averse' -- which is just a fancy way of talking about how much people want to hedge their predictions about the future," he said. "And these psychologists and economists tell us there's a spectrum of attitudes, ranging from those who are relatively confident about their predictions to those who lack all such confidence. But I'm convinced that there's a third group of people -- it's a small group of people, but they have influence and importance way out of proportion to their number. They're the kind of people I see before me in this room. They're the people, like you, who understand that the best way to predict the future is to create the future."

A full copy of Swainson's remarks is available at http://www.ibm.com.

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