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User response to our Nicholas Carr interview

One user sounds off to a recent interview with Nicholas Carr.

I've followed this subject for at least a year -- almost since the initial publication of the article by Mr. Carr...

in the Harvard Business review (HBR). And as you suggest, I don't take it personally, though I think perhaps Mr. Carr is taking the responses (especially criticisms) personally; and he should. But, I believe that is the price he should pay, and he should remember that he has achieved what (I believe) was his intent. Consider the 'history' of Mr. Carr and the "doesn't matter" issue. What experience does Mr. Carr have to establish his credibility? Check his bio on his own Web site, and you'll learn that his perception (and likely also the limit to his understanding) of "information" is that of a journalist. Note that he provides no details regarding the focus or areas of his major for either his B.A. or M.A. degree. However, those degrees do by their types imply that neither was at all related to computers or information systems/technology. Clearly it was his editorial positions, where he likely "read about IT," that gave him the access and opportunity to HBR to have the article published. I suspect were he not already "in that crowd," albeit as an editor rather than someone with experience in the IT industry, HBR may very well have rejected his article submission.

What has Mr. Carr accomplished? The answer might also provide some indication of his real intent and expectations. He wrote an article that was then published under the auspices (and credibility) of HBR. As expected it was controversial which served to bring him much notoriety -- and certainly didn't hurt HBR when they charged $4-6 per reprint. No doubt the controversy has been a boon to Mr. Carr's opportunity for speaking engagements, and of course, has also provided the opportunity for him to write a book. Was there anything particularly scholarly about his article? Was it well researched? Were the 'facts' he claimed as support for his argument(s) accurate? Has he added anything to the "IT" industry's knowledge on either a theoretical or tangible basis? I think most 'educated', knowledgeable individuals would answer 'NO' to all of these questions. BUT... he has made a lot of money, made a "name" for himself, and he was able to accomplish these things without the time and effort required by the rigor of a Doctoral degree program or paying the dues of experience.

Now Mr. Carr says he was "misinterpreted." No, he was not. He displayed his ignorance by painting the entire computer-based information industry with a very broad brush that he labeled "IT." As his critics continue to very clearly point out the errors, which are quite numerous, he has had the opportunity to gain a bit of education about the subject areas he professed to know 'something' about. No doubt he is more than happy to continue the controversy, back and forth. The longer he can sustain it, the longer someone will pay him a fee for a speaking engagement, or maybe by his pathetically short book. I for one, will not even though it has a comparably low cost with or without any discounts.

As to proving him wrong, it has already been done, repeatedly. Those of us in the IT/IS industry know how inept Mr. Carr's perspective is, and this is well-documented on numerous Web sites. It has been well and thoroughly debunked. His projections of what a CIO's role and functions will simply be the next round of controversy (and profits for Mr. Carr) for those who either also "don't get it" and bother to imply he has much credibility by bothering to give him any (undeserved) attention. Our best course of action would be to simply dismiss him from any further consideration. This would shut off to the charlatan any further ill-gotten gains.

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