Sunday, December 18, 2011

who moved my cheese

I read it 5 years ago. A powerful metaphor for our long term survival as individuals, as a profession (say software engineers), as a company, or as a nation...

When our cheese disappears, too often we try so hard to understand the "who" but (as the book author hinted) maybe we need not... Instead, we could focus on how to better identify long term trends and threats, how to strengthen our long term competitiveness, how to adapt ourselves to changing (and challenging) landscapes...

Some of the cheese-disappearances I perceive --
* Wall St big bonuses -- disappearing
* Wall St big base salaries -- investment banking business decline, or seismic changes eroding their profitability. High profit margin is (IMO) the key reason for the high salary.
* inequality of Wall St vs Main St, and the unfair advantage of "high finance" over other communities
* non-threaded programming -- multi-processor machines and slow displacement of traditional programming
* sybase, weblogic/websphere, solaris  -- more open source solutions adopted in finance such as mysql, jboss ..
* IT contractor as a profession -- will they disappear?
* Aged-55 or older programmers -- will they disappear as in Asia?
* comfortable retirement at age 60 -- I fear more people will be forced to work till older age, because the traditional source of retirement income is under threat and becoming unreliable.
* onshore IT jobs in finance -- even more of these jobs moving offshore?
* dominance of US dollar
* Singapore's geographical advantage as a transit port
* java as a language -- in some areas, java is losing pole position
* SQL as a language -- I see more alternatives like SecDB, google BigTable, NoSQL, gemfire/tangosol. They don't completely replace SQL but eclipse its dominance. In one of my projects, a in-house xml document store is the main data store. SQL was not selected as a solution.

If we think hard about cheese-disappearances, we may realize some things somehow won't disappear. Perhaps the WHY isn't the only thing important. I do think it's good to seek patterns.
= option mathematics -- still underlying the pricing, risk-management and trading of most derivative instruments
= derivatives -- some people predict derivatives trading will decline and shrink
= c/c++
= SQL -- yes SQL again. This language has withstood so much competition and criticsm but remains dominant so far.

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About Me

New York (Time Square), NY, United States
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin