Victor Rozek's award-winning and thought-provoking "Out of the Blue" column was consistently one of the best things to read in any IT publication on the market. We are pleased to add his voice and thoughts about the computer industry and the world at large in this column, which runs once a month in The Four Hundred. That's Victor above with his other half, Kassy Daggett.
September 11, 2017 Victor Rozek
When you become the richest man in the world, if only for a few hours by virtue of stock market fluctuations, you nonetheless acquire an additional layer of gravitas. Suddenly, everything you say or do has added significance. Small actions are credited with great meaning. The trivial becomes transcendent.
Which is probably why, the day after the New York Times announced that Jeff Bezos had toppled Bill Gates from his golden throne as the world’s richest man, the usually sober Business Insider gushed about his managerial prowess. The article appeared under the preposterous headline: “The ‘two pizza rule’ is a …Read more
August 28, 2017 Victor Rozek
If your IT career spanned the AS/400 years, you may be of an age when you are considering retirement. Certainly, if both your health and your bank account are reasonably robust, retirement can be as sweetly anticipated as a tax refund. The prospect of leisure and travel, or just putting a halt to the daily grind, exerts a strong gravitational pull. But reality is like the spellchecker of the imagination: it corrects misconceptions.
We are, in fact, absurdly encouraged to view decline as the Golden Years. Retirement has long been romanticized by everyone from the AARP, to financial planners, to …Read more
August 16, 2017 Victor Rozek
As anyone who has ever managed an IT installation can attest, computer technology offers equal measures of empowerment and annoyance. On one hand, computers allow us to run our businesses on a scale of complexity unimaginable just a few decades ago. Multiple platforms churn in multiple time zones, global data transfers clog the ether; and people from different cultures, speaking different languages, are able to collaborate digitally for the good of the enterprise.
On the other hand, management must perpetually contend with the aggravation of the archaic. Even the finest computers and most elegant software are cursed by the specter …Read more
July 24, 2017 Victor Rozek
I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!
While we’re on the subject:
You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still just do what they want to do!
Why can’t they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What’s the matter with kids today?
That little ditty was sung by the wonderfully snarky Paul Lynde from the 1960s musical Bye Bye Birdie, still performed in high schools around the country. Beyond …Read more
June 12, 2017 Victor Rozek
Corporate leaders like to compare business to the military. From top-down command structures, to having a “mission,” that can only be accomplished by “capturing” market share, and “crushing” the competition; it all sounds very Ramboesque. Given the languaging you would think every CEO was the second coming of George Patton. Turns out Patton had more regard for the people under his command.
Besides the fact that the color of corporate bloodshed is green, there is a core difference between military ethics and corporate ethics. Author and TED Talk regular Simon Sinek succinctly summarizes the difference. The military, says Sinek, “gives …Read more
May 22, 2017 Victor Rozek
Maybe she just didn’t want to carry a purse. Or maybe she liked to wear tight jeans and having anything in the pockets spoiled the look. Or maybe she wanted to keep it handy, or thought it was trendy or “dope.” But whatever the reason she, like a growing number of women, carried her cell phone tucked into her bra.
She was 39 at the time of diagnosis, a Chinese woman, non-meat eater, with no genetic or lifestyle predispositions to cancer. Under the circumstances, what her doctor found was highly unusual: multiple primary tumors in her right breast. It was …Read more
April 24, 2017 Victor Rozek
“I should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears.” – Rumi
Rumi would not do well on social media. Not much listening going on there. We are a culture of speakers. From the advent of email through the current suite of thumb-enabled apps, all are designed to amplify the mouth. From sea to shining sea, we have become one long declarative sentence fragment.
Let’s face it: Most of us speak because we want to be heard. Only a priest in a confessional begins a conversation in anticipation of listening to someone blather on about their dysfunctions. But that’s the …Read more
March 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
It is quite possible that two of the most unexpected and consequential events of recent times had their origins with a student in Warsaw. Perhaps if he hadn’t been accepted to Cambridge University, the fates of two nations would not now be spinning off in unforeseen directions. But he was, and in Cambridge, the ripples of his fascination with psychometrics grew into an unintended tsunami. His name is Michal Kosinski, and there are a lot of people angry with him.
Psychometrics is the reality-based branch of psychology, at least in so far as it is data-driven. It is rooted in …Read more
February 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
For those of us accustomed to ingesting information in scraps, the Lincoln-Douglas debates would have been a month’s worth of forced-feeding. Lincoln, the challenger, and Douglas, the Senate incumbent from Illinois, jousted seven times in seven cities adhering to a format that would shrivel today’s sound bite-spouting politicians, and overwhelm voters with truncated attention spans.
The first candidate would speak for a solid hour, followed by a 90-minute rebuttal, topped-off by a 30-minute rejoinder from the first speaker. Three hours of political debate; three hours of issues and remedies, analysis and inspiration, with speakers erudite enough to keep audiences engaged …Read more
January 30, 2017 Victor Rozek
Blitzkrieg is a German term meaning “lightning warfare.” It describes a rapid, overpowering mechanized strike. Armored columns pour into enemy territory with overwhelming speed and numbers, crushing any opposition.
While this concept is now well integrated into modern warfare, in September of 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, it was revolutionary. Portions of the Polish border were still defended by cavalry, matched against waves of tanks and heavy armor.
A year before the invasion an industrialist received the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Nazis: The Grand Cross of the German Eagle. He received it for his support of the Nazi …Read more