Winners, losers and unrequited computer love…a satirical review of 2016

13 December 2016

After a busy year trying to make sense of the changing ICT landscape I’m winding down for Christmas by attending as many customer and supplier events as possible. The prospect of free wine and food, stimulating conversations and standard speeches by sales managers delivers a mix of pleasure and pain.

I’ve also delighted in compiling my 2016 awards list of companies and individuals that have taken on the IT challenge and made a difference, one way or another.

The IT challenge awards go to:

The 1980’s Post Office in Disguise Award:


Given the task of delivering fibre to the country’s wealthiest city Chorus, you sure have made an art form of missing targets, breaking promises and then complaining to the government about not getting paid enough.

Fellas – I live two minutes off the Southern Motorway, on the Great South Rd, well within the greater Auckland Council area. Two years ago, you promised me UFB in 2016 – now you have “no plans” to deliver on that promise. In the meantime, I have download speeds slower than my aging prostate in the middle of the night.

But then – when you made all the cable guys redundant and turned them into “self-employed” Vision Stream contractors, what the heck did you expect to happen to quality, delivery and on-time performance?

The Best Solution Nobody Wants Award:

Amazon Web Services.

We all knew you were the best at the technical stuff nobody understands. We all knew you were cheaper than chips.

At the end of the day guys, we didn’t want your fancy pants “cloud availability zones”. What we really wanted, was something simple and easy to use. Not the mysterious dross the high priests of IT have been serving us up for the past 20 years.

In the end, we spurned you and chose Microsoft, despite your rugged good looks and romantic promises of freedom and joy!

The “We keep trusting you but it feels so very dirty when we do” Award:


Four years ago, you told us the world would end if we used cloud servers at the risk of our sovereignty, privacy, security and data ownership.

Now that you have a half-decent product, you tell us that these aren’t problems at all and that Microsoft Azure and Skype for Business will make us all so very happy. Even though Bill and Melinda Gates are saving the world from disease and war using our money I still only half believe you.

I do love you though, I do. Just keep telling me that you love me too and you won’t betray me and that it will all be okay in the end.

The “Three years to retirement and then I am SO out of here” Award:

All you technocrats in IT departments all over New Zealand

You know who you are. I worked with most of you during the 1990s and early 2000s. Back then we were so proud of our local innovation and No 8 wire ways that saved us from dealing with those multinational IT companies who thought New Zealand was part of Asia Pacific.

Now you are clinging to your “boxes that go ping” and telling us that “the cloud” will work for some companies but have limited use in ours. In fact, you don’t even agree that “the cloud” is a real thing and keep demanding we define it. Then you strive to dazzle us with the same technical gobbledegook that lost you your place at the executive table and left you reporting to Finance.

In your heart of hearts, you know it’s all a lie and that you just can’t deliver on the promises you make any more. Better to go to your grave clinging onto that shiny box you love so much than to admit you have become the same dinosaur as the one you replaced back in the days of mainframes, whirring tapes and green screens.

The “You don’t even need to know much to be world class” Award:

The cloud.

Whether it’s Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Facebook or just plain old internet banking the reality is that you are all world class and we love you for it. We can have you at home, at work, in fact anywhere for cents in the dollar and with a click of a credit card.

Mr/Ms Cloud you are just so secure, so easy to like, so powerful and so very, very cheap I can’t help but want to marry you. If only Siri would answer my calls….

Merry Christmas readers – see you in the New Year.

This article is also published in the December 2016 issue of the EMA Business Plus magazine where David is a regular contributor.