Friday, June 02, 2006

A friend across the ocean

A French IT consultant and customer, Louis Naug├Ęs, has added a mention of my blog on his site. I'm pleased to have my very first multi-lingual mention on the Internet!

If you're fluent in French, you'll enjoy a visit to the site, which is aimed at CIOs of large organizations. If you need some help (kudos to my son-in-law for the translation), here is a summary of his entry.

Louis is 63 and the president of Microcost, a company he started two years ago. Like me, he didn't really see retirement as a time to slow down. He hopes his blog will help leadership to realize the value of "older" workers in their 50s and 60s.

Louis has been wearing "Noeuds papillons" for more than 30 years!

Or, if you'd rather read something moderately close to the original:

An informal translation from the French (with apologies to the author)
Originally dated April 2006

Several days ago I wrote a paper, "The kids are terrific." I can't resist the pleasure of writing a new piece about how old timers are also capable of creating high tech home runs. To celebrate his 75th birthday, Bill Kenerson decided to start a blog to talk about his passion, and his job—bow ties. His company, Beau Ties Limited of Vermont, is one of my preferred suppliers on the web, but that's not what I want to talk about.

The story of this entrepreneur stands out for more reasons. In 1993, at 62 years old, he decided to create a company to manufacture bow ties that he would be proud to wear but couldn't find in stores. Today, through catalogs and the Internet, he generates revenues of more than two million dollars annually.

What this man offers, for his 75th birthday, the creation of a blog, is a great offering of energy (chutzpah) and optimism for us all. I want to wish him, in your name to everyone, "Happy birthday, Bill." This all is also a great example of adaptation to the marketplace, and the economic size of the project is interesting.

Everything is manufactured in the United States, in Vermont, by a team of 30 employees. The company’s flexibility, its niche in the market, have allowed this enterprise to be born, and to put in one place on American soil, textile products, a business in which our friends the Chinese have a huge cost advantage.

Reflections induced by the age pyramid in information technology

Our computer professionals are young; the first of them came to be about 40 years ago. Even today, we see the "old coders" who started out coding in Cobol and assembler language using punch cards. They are competing with the kids of 25-30 years who were born into Java, the Web and the PC.

The comparison of these very different profiles is complex, all the more reason not to focus too much on young or old. In IT, like in other jobs, age should never be a criterion for assessing the competence and adaptability of the individual. I’ve come across people in our business who are old at 25 and others who are kids at 65 years old. It still happens all too often that one reads job ads that ask for someone under 30 years old, with 15 years of relevant experience, or for someone with 20 years of experience but who’s only 40 years old. (I’m not really exaggerating.) If Bill Kenerson can, at 75 years old, throw himself into creating a blog, he's clearly not the only septuagenarian who can do it.

The next time you hear a 40 or 50 year old say "Create a blog? Not for me, that's for kids," you'll know whose web site to send them to.

In a retirement home in the south of France, an internet tools forum for retirees was created by a former professor who threw himself into the secrets of the web surfers. It shows that older folks prefer to be taught by their peers than by a 25 year old kid. To create the conditions such that IT professionals of a broad range of ages are capable of working together is a big challenge. It is also, when successful, a coup for the person who is behind its success.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Raj for Congress

Seeing some of Vermont's political candidates marching in today's Middlebury Memorial Day parade reminded me of an aspiring politician (and television celebrity) I've met.


Even though I can't endorse him or vote for him, I think it's great fun that Raj Bhakta, the bow-tie-wearing competitor from the fall 2004 season of The Apprentice, is a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 13th District. Raj and a friend dropped in at Beau Ties several months ago during a visit to Vermont. He purchased a couple of bows and chatted with the staff, and was very congenial. Raj seemed like a nice young man.

Take a peek at Raj's web site, www.rajforcongress.com, if you're curious. (Did I see him wearing a four-in-hand in some of those photos?)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Enough, already

Could someone please tell the media that there's more going on in the world than Tom Cruise's baby? Not to mention the latest celebrity birth, a girl to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Just had to get that off my chest. Sorry about that.