By Andrew Stuart
There was once a time when I was passionately committed to my technologies. I was totally one-eyed about Windows, and I believed Unix was garbage. Novell was the only choice for networking, and Microsoft LAN Manager sucked. I was outraged that the business world didn't see how much better the Amiga was than the IBM PC. I was angry that Apple didn't port to Intel and license the Macintosh operating system. I was deeply concerned about Microsoft taking over the world. I knew deep in my heart that BeOS was an operating system superior to any other (until I discovered QNX). I believed, with a passion, that Lotus Notes was better than Microsoft Exchange.
Eventually, I came to realize that my technology crusades and belief systems didn't always represent what was best for the client. I saw other people in the IT industry making recommendations based upon their personal technology beliefs and prejudices. Often, such recommendations seemed to me to be less in the interests of the client than they were in the interests of pushing a personal agenda or advancing a technology crusade.
The client doesn't want crusades. The client doesn't care if Microsoft takes over the world and the client doesn't care if the Amiga is a better computer than an IBM PC. All they want is the most sensible technology solution for their business. Generally, clients want systems that are consistent with corporate standards, work reliably, and meet their requirements at a reasonable cost with good support and compatibility with their existing systems.
My thinking changed and my approach to technology strategy changed. Sure, I could have technologies that I was personally passionate about, but for client technology decisions, my approach became "horses for courses." I set aside my personal perspectives and actively sought for the most suitable technology decisions based not upon my opinions, but instead upon a range of factors relevant to that particular client business, time, place, and circumstance. I deliberately went the other way and became as pragmatic and practical as possible, putting the client's objectives first and setting my technology beliefs and prejudices aside.
There are lots of people in the world today who remain steadfastly committed to their technology beliefs. Microsoft Windows has a fanatically one-eyed following of committed Win32 software developers. Linux has an insanely fanatical worldwide developer community. Solaris and Oracle both have their legions of true believers who won't accept that competitive offerings should have any place in the world. Perl mongers believe that "whatever the question, Perl is the answer." Java fiends think the same thing about their precious language and VM.