The IT Strategy Letter
Doug Kaye, RDS Strategies LLC
March 3, 2004 (Subscribe)

In this issue:

"Where's My IT Strategy Letter?" Many of you have asked why there hasn't been a new issue of The IT Strategy Letter for the past four weeks. While it's nice to be missed, I am sorry I haven't been able to write much recently. Most of this past month has been dedicated to IT Conversations and that pattern is likely to continue for another month or so. I'll be publishing more regularly soon, but at the moment I'm working 75-hour weeks trying to get IT Conversations ready for growth into a viable business.

In 2000 I left the steady-paycheck world to become a consultant, write two books, travel, and generally take a break. The books have done well, but they don't pay the bills and consulting, like everything else, isn't a real career unless you work at business development on an ongoing basis. Instead I spent most of my time meeting new people, learning and writing.

Nine months ago, I realized the interviews I'd conducted as research for Loosely Coupled would themselves be valuable to anyone interested in web services. I had interviewed people like Eric Newcomer, Mark O'Neill, Phil Windley, Anne Thomas Manes and John McDowall, all of whom knew much more about web services than I ever will. As an author I was merely a conduit and a packager of these gurus' ideas, and although the book is highly regarded, no doubt something was lost in the translation. Wouldn't it be better to find a way for readers to hear directly from these experts and in their own voices? And so was born IT Conversations.

IT Conversations has been a one-person labor of love. I've conducted the interviews, processed and edited the audio, written the code, handled the sysadmin tasks and designed the site (sorry about that!). I've even edited the transcripts (which is why they take so long to get online) although an outside service does the transcribing. The site has been warmly received and the reviews beyond my expectations. I'm having fun. Before my 28 years as a tech executive I was a sound engineer in the film business. My wife says IT Conversations combines my two previous lives.

IT Conversations is a success in every way except as a commercial venture, and that's where I'm going next. Once I complete the site redesign and enhance the code to support personalization, ads, tracking and some cool new features, I'll be pitching it to sponsors and advertisers. I toyed with the idea of instead charging for the content either through subscriptions or on a micropayment model, but my sense is that it's more valuable to the IT community if I can keep the content free and available under a Creative Commons license. I don't need to make a fortune, but IT Conversations will have to be cashflow positive if I'm to continue to spend all my time on it.

So that's the story -- probably much more than you wanted to know. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that most of this IT Strategy Letter is devoted to the last month's content on IT Conversations. If you haven't already listened in or stopped by to read a transcript or two, I hope you will. There's some pretty good stuff there.


Steve McConnell: Software Engineering. For 12 years the author of Rapid Development, the Software Project Survival Guide, and the best-selling Code Complete has been one of the most influential voices in software-development methodology and the profession of software engineering. In this interview, he explains the important distinction between software engineers and computer scientists. (Did you know the former are paid on average $10,000 more per year?)

Steve has given IT managers a variety of software-development lifeycycle models including one he calls "evolutionary prototyping" which is at the heart of eXtreme Programming, and you'll be interested to hear what he thinks of XP. We also discussed why software seems to be so much less reliable than the hardware on which it runs, and got a preview of the second edition of Code Complete, due out in June 2004.

Hear the interview or read the transcript.



Digital Democracy Teach-In. What a remarkable event! Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean, was the keynote speaker at this extraordinary one-day conference produced by O'Reilly & Associates, and IT Conversations has the audio and transcripts of it all.

Photo: D. Story/O'Reilly Network.


Down from the Mountain
--Joe Trippi's Keynote Speech

Q&A with Joe Trippi
--Moderated by Ed Cone


Check out the complete list of the entire day's presentations.

Emerging Technology Conference 2004. But Digital Democracty was just the opening act. The rest of the week was filled with the main event. Hear and read these terrific keynote presentations from this popular O'Reilly & Associates conference.

O'Reilly Radar
--Tim O'Reilly
Robots-Saving Money, Time & Lives
--Helen Greiner
Catalyzing Collective Action on the Net
--Marc Smith
Enabling Life Goes Mobile
--Pertti Korhonen
Emotional Design: The Principles
--Don Norman
Alternative Venture Investing Models
--William H. Janeway


Photo: Tim Bishop

--Rand Anderson

Kaye: Web Services Transactions. XML Journal has published an excerpt from my latest book. It's free and printable!
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 10:39:06 AM

Windley: RSS for RFPs. Phil Windley reports on Utah's Division of Purchasing's RSS feed for current solicitations. Brilliant! There's an entire small industry around publishing construction-bid opportunities that will disappear, but this is a terrific application of the technology.
Posted Monday, March 01, 2004 9:15:48 PM

Miller: EV1Servers Pays License Fee to SCO. EV1Servers CEO Robert Marsh says he realizes his company might be "vilified" for signing a licensing agreement with The SCO Group, becoming the first publicly identified company to have paid SCO to settle its disputed legal claims involving Linux. But Marsh said the company acted to protect its customers, some of whom were expressing concern about the SCO case.
Posted Monday, March 01, 2004 6:34:14 PM

Loosely Coupled--Now Available as a PDF (at a 63% Discount)


  • Entire book: US$14.95
  • Major parts (4 total): US$5.95 each
  • Individual chapters (21 total): US$1.95 each

As an alternative to the hardcopy edition, you can now download my latest book in PDF format at a substantial discount using PayPal or BitPass. From the time you purchase the eBook version, you have 7 days during which you can download the content up to 10 times. The PDF files can be printed, but the text cannot be copied or modified. Review of the Week:

"This book provides an excellent explanation of why companies should be looking at Web services. It approaches the topic with an honest and straightforward description of the problem space Web services are targeted to address and the characteristics/short comings of those technologies as they exist today and as they are expected to evolve. Perfect for IT decision makers who are evaluating how/where Web services fit in their corporate IT strategy."

--James Snell, IBM, author Programming Web Services with SOAP
(Read more reviews.)

Subscription and Contact Info

The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by RDS Strategies LLC. Much -- but not all -- of the content is published earlier in Doug Kaye's weblogs.


View or search newsletter archives
Email Doug or visit his site at

©2004 Doug Kaye and RDS Strategies LLC.
Postal inquiries: 113 Terrace Ave., Kentfield, CA 94904
This newsletter is governed by a Creative Commons License.


"...essential reading for anyone seeking to deploy this technology."

--John Hagel, III,
management consultant
and author of
"Out of the Box"


Read More Reviews of Loosely Coupled