Thinking about the Ephemeral
I'd promised to write about simplicity, chaos and the ephemeral today. Well, to a certain extent I've changed my mind. Today I'm going to concentrate on ephemeral thoughts.
First, the word ephemeral isn't very common. So let's get a working definition going. Something ephemeral lasts only one day or lasts a very brief time. Momentary and fleeting are excellent synonyms.
But what does ephemeral mean to operators of networks?
Why should we care?
Okay, perhaps it's too easy. But how often do we stop to consider the effects of our actions and inactions on the network users? Not often and certainly not often enough. We are all susceptible to this trap. I was considering the NGN conference today. It will be held the first week of November 2003. Presentation applications were due a week or so ago. Making everything at the conference at least 7 months old by the time we gather to hear about the latest developments in networking. Weird!
Mike Vance has often talked about the ephemeralization process. This idea is unique to Mike. The thought behind it is getting more out of less. This is an important concept for anyone who plies the networking trade. Too often we are content to sail along with the status quo. When we do change it is usually in response to pressure from our customers or from up the management chain. To be effective network managers we must be effective at facilitating change.
There are inherent dangers in driving change. Change for it's own sake is almost never a good idea. Knowing why change is needed is just as important as knowing that it is needed. Knowing what to change is more important and perhaps the most important aspect.
Understanding the ephemeral nature of technology is a good starting point. Long, drawn out processes that yield little in the way of results are the kiss of death. No one wants to be involved in a loser project. Few of us have the patience to hang on through years of protracted planning with little accomplishment. Worse, what about a lot of effort with little planning and nothing to show for it?
So how do we apply ephemeral ideas to our work in technical areas?
© 2003 Jim Stewart
Last Update: 10/5/03; 8:56:08 PM