Many of the cartoons published in the Irreverent Dictionary came from this book, and I was among those who suggested to Paul that he should publish the cartoons separately. They were, however, essential to this otherwise intimidating book that is nothing less than an operating manual for the Captain of the Virtual Network. The bottom line that I took from this book is that Kevin Kelly is right, our national and international information systems are “out of control” and our policy leaders have abdicated their responsibilities to technicians who do not have the political, economic, or common sense of two ducks and a chicken. As Paul alludes in one of his footnotes, the Network today is somewhat in relationship to the “horseless carriage” stage of the automobile, and we have a very long way to go before policy helps make computers as user-friendly and reliable and interoperable as the telephone and the automobile are today.
Whenever we get depressed about the inability of large organizations to “hear” we just remind ourselves that no one listens to Brent Scowcroft or Paul Strassmann either despite their stature as intellectual giants.
Strassmann is an enterprise unto himself after decades of being a CIO for Xerox, DoD, and then a reprise at NASA for Sean O'Keefe. His books are among the most vital for executives seeking to actually understand the business value of computing. Below is his presentation to OSS '96.
Paul Strassman, CIO of Xeroc before becoming the Defense Information Officer, was an open-minded person who encouraged iconoclosts to submit their ideas. He did listen. What we have all learned over time is that organizations that do not have adaptive cultures will always allow “corporatism” to create fatal grid-lock. We knew all we needed to know in 1991-1992 to change the world forever, using information as a global strategic asset. See REF A and RE B in References. Here is his take on it in 1992.
THE DOLLAR HAS NO INTRINSIC VALUE : DO YOUR ASSETS?