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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
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6/14/2007
03:03 AM
Brian Gillooly
Brian Gillooly
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More On The Value of Younger IT Folks

Following on the previous entry about BNSF's legacy migration, here's a reader's post from back in February on Chris Anderson's Long Tail blog that underscores the shift in the hierarchy of value within IT. The CIO doesn't always have the best answers, there isn't necessarily a direct correlation between age/experience and intelligence/talent, and it's a CIO like Jeff Campbell at BNSF who recognizes that that'll be the greatest asset to their company moving forward...

Following on the previous entry about BNSF's legacy migration, here's a reader's post from back in February on Chris Anderson's Long Tail blog that underscores the shift in the hierarchy of value within IT. The CIO doesn't always have the best answers, there isn't necessarily a direct correlation between age/experience and intelligence/talent, and it's a CIO like Jeff Campbell at BNSF who recognizes that that'll be the greatest asset to their company moving forward...Here's the entry from the Long Tail blog:

I was born in 1981. Wikipedia tells me that means I'm part of one of the following: Generation Y, the Internet Generation, the Boomerang Generation, or the MTV Generation. Whatever the case, I'm the guy you described above. People always ask mistake me for an intern at work, I do hate CIOs and yeah, (I think) I'm pretty damn special. =)

I'm the youngest person at my company, I'm 25 and the rest of the employees are all either 40 or older (save for a few 35's). It's a telecommunications company where the IT guy can't even access the companies FTP server and where another higher-up thinks that SCSI hard drives are still the best medium for storing data.

Honestly, I find that most of the precautions set forth by the CIO and the people who run the company are little more than outdated superstition. Until recently (like last week) we didn't even have a wireless network because one guy in charge thought hackers would, quote, 'monitor and steal everything'.

The fact of the matter is, the lines have blurred between what is 'earned' and what makes the most sense for a business. A CIO title is just that: a title. It doesn't mean that you know more than I do because you're older than me. One would hope a good CIO did, but that isn't always the case and to assume so, can hinder progress.

For instance, I recently helped bail the whole company out of a situation using completely open-source software. This was after weeks of sitting in on meetings where I was told not to do anything while my superiors plotted crazy solutions that would have been brilliant...ten years ago. Long story short, I took some open source software and code and managed to finish the project at one of the meetings (while they were still talking). Sure, I wasn't exactly following protocol, but the job got done.

All of my above sarcasm aside, it's not that my generation really feels so special. We just know that (despite all our lack of 'experience') we sometimes have more to offer than we're given credit for.

This sounds a lot like what's happening at BNSF with its transportation system management platform. Only the transformation happened with the blessing and guidance of the CIO.

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