Hollis Tibbetts

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Top Stories by Hollis Tibbetts

Banks and Bad Decisions Let's face it, Bank of America hasn't exactly been the paradigm of good decisions lately - they purchased Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, two boat anchors that almost sunk the B of A ship. Countrywide in particular turned out to be the posterchild of "toxic assets" and bad mortgages.  But that's not what this article is about.  And I'm not a banker, so I'm not in a position to authoritatively write on those particular topics. But B of A recently did something that transcends categories like "banking".  They "pulled a Netflix". What Is a "Netflix"? A "Netflix" is when companies: Make an incredibly stupid blunder, based on the belief that their customers won't go away. Get arrogant, and somehow or another actually believe that no other company could possibly offer a substitute for their goods and services. Believe they can disrespect th... (more)

Why Infrastructure Technology Is Challenging

I like writing about "Infrastructure Software." One of the most challenging things about being an advocate for a broad horizontally applicable technology is that it does not solve a particular business problem. Instead, it solves about 100,000 business problems. That was an admittedly uber-geeky joke I made on my column "Integration Edge" on ebizQ in an article about Legacy Modernization. Although I was making light of the situation, the impact for a technology advocate is real.  The problem with writing about infrastructure software is that everyone is impacted by it, yet nobody ... (more)

Are Your Online Support Tools Ruining Your Business?

Guns are dangerous - as well as useful weapons.  Online customer support tools - such as Chat can also be useful... or dangerous. Powerful Tools Are Dangerous Tools I'm a gun-owning American who believes in the Second Amendment.  I also believe that proper training is a critical and mandatory part of responsible gun ownership.  The very first training course I took as part of becoming a responsible gun owner taught me a few basic principles - all focused on safety.  For example - "always keep the gun's muzzle pointed in a safe direction" . Basic principles like these help ensure ... (more)

Why Crowdsourcing Is Stupid

As you might know from some of my previous writing, I've been on a bit of an expedition to uncover the true meaning of "Crowdsourcing".  I'm by no means finished, but I've: Just returned from TopCoder's TCO11 competition, where I spoke with so many people I can't count them all. Read so many web pages, analyst reports, white papers, case studies and PDF documents my eyes hurt. Emailed back and forth with a bunch of people, and worn out more than one battery talking to people over the phone on this topic. In fact, I just got off the phone not 30 minutes ago with the VP of Marketing... (more)

Question: Why Is IT Project Failure Always an Option?

You'd think that we'd be smarter about IT projects by now. You think that we'd be tired of the horrifying rates of failure, and the crushing consequences of those failures. But if you are not spending more time understanding your customers - and developing tightly scoped requirements to make great software to meet their real needs, not some imagined "needs mash-up" cobbled together by the squeakiest wheels in your organization - you're part of the problem, and you're accepting failure as an ever-present option. It's time to stop the madness. It's time to reduce the waste of multi... (more)