Cutter Summit 2007 – Tom DeMarco’s Wrap-up
May 4, 2007
Well, a moment many of us have been waiting for has arrived. Tom’s wrap-up of the conference is a time when we get to go on a guided tour of “connecting the dots” as seen through Tom’s lens. Seeing Tom prepare his index cards at the front of the stage blows me away; the man is a quintessential pro at pulling it all together and saying it with a clarity and cohesiveness that allows us to make sense of it all – with a twist – in one amazing hour.
[This wrap up is giving me deja-vu from the years of amazing wrap-ups not only at the Cutter Summit Conferences, but during the days when the POPTech Conference was blessed to have Tom as it’s former curator and host, with wrap-ups by Bob Metcalfe.]
What I love about this epilogue is that I get to hear things that I did not hear the first time (usually because I had been trying to concentrate on two things at once, because of simulcast blogging). But more importantly, it’s because of this: We all see the world through the lens of our own biases, opinions, and experiences. But when you listen to a recap of an even like the Summit, you get to see it (hear it) through the lens of one of the truly great technology thinkers of our time. And when Tom does his recap, I always hear new things that blow me away all over again.
[Karen Coburn was right when she asked people to reschedule their homeward flights or even walk home, if they had (mistakenly) planned to head to the airport before Tom’s wrap-up.]
Just a few short highlights of Tom’s highlights are:
IT is positioned to ride to its own rescue by opening up revenue opportunities from creating new things. [from Rob Austin]
IT has made globalization possible because it has laid the pipes and infrastructure around the world to move money across countries [at the speed of light].
Risk Management – and doing it right – is about wining BIG when you win, and losing SMALL when you lose. Rockwell Collins in Iowa is the poster child of that. The thousands of high-tech jobs in the middle of Iowa cornfields is the result of brilliant execution of that idea. (95% of the people who work at Rockwell come from their very own greater metropolitan (if you can call it that) region of Cedar Rapids.)
The Volkswagen case study allowed all of us to experience what it is like to argue a case at the Harvard Business School.
Paul Robinson’s leadership talk had a magical kernel – what sets apart great leaders is how they deal with “the error” [that is inherent in everything that we humans do]. Explicit gets all the attention but implicit is what matters (special thanks to the fantastic observations from Vince Kellen, CIO of DePaul University, who sat on the panel discussion.]
For the closing talk on Innovation – why DTE Energy as a focal point and not Apple, for example? Consider how challenging it is to be “innovative” at a place like a utility? And from Tom’s direct experience at having consulted there, how remarkable they are as a HEART-CENTERED company. Wow. This is one of those rare times that I have heard about a company being heart-centered.
Another tidbit – this is happening in (of all places) Detroit. 13,000 of the 15,000 best jobs in Detroit are at DTE. As an employer, they are single-handedly responsible for their home economy in much of the same way that Rockwell Collins – another great innovator – is to their home city of Cedar Rapids.
And what I thought was a brilliant close to Tom’s comments: It’s not really just companies that are innovative, it’s (and he looked at people right in the eye after a brief pause), it’s YOU. It’s up to YOU.
And there it was: A deeply reflective and inspiring close to an incredible conference; one that we all will remember for a long time. I feel truly enriched by the experience.
Don’t miss the Cutter 2008 Summit… see you next year!