There is a great quote from Betrand Russell, which I’ve quoted a few times.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
You can attend any conference and you’ll always come across a speaker with a case of morettes; this is where they spend a significant amount of time (more than speaking on the subject matter) and references to the self come in small chunks (ettes, little bits) throughout the talk. You can usually be certain that someone with a job title involving ‘evangelist’ or ‘analyst’ that works for a IT company has a gift of talking about their status, past work, who they’ve worked for, papers they’ve published and their own importance rather than the subject matter. On the extreme side, this has take 40 minutes of a 60 minute presentation. Recently, an ex-Gartner employee made 13 references to his work at his former employee from 3 years before, to justify current predictions for the future of the cloud computing market. Yes, this confirms his status and there is no denying that he knows the market, but what wasn’t discussed was Gartner’s failure for most of the time up to 2011 to completely ignore, rubbish and then reluctantly accept open source.
You might may say however, that my focus on themselves rather than on the message they have to say, ie their existence is in fact an embodiment of what this website is about. However they are pure aesthetes who in many cases are fabricating an alternative reality in which they live, primarily for instant pleasure. This type of alternative reality can be taken to extremes, see a recent Guardian news article. What you notice is that sometimes that there is utter self belief in people, even in their own personal rewritten history of achievement, meetings and name droppings. Some of these of draw dropping, when you listen to a supposed CTO of a large tech company claim the investion of Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS I guess) whilst drinking in a San Francisco bar with a couple of other beautiful people. Even it’s true, its usually completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
We are all guilty of embellishment and the slight adjustment of history, but its the fools and fanatics who make a career from it. Whilst not the problem with the whole world, it is one that can really change your working environment.