About Bruce F. Webster
I am a self-professed “geek in a suit.” I first briefly encountered computers in high school in the late 1960s and again at the start of my freshman year of college, though my declared major was microbiology. After my freshman year, I spent two years (1972-74) doing missionary work in Central America; by the time I came back to resume my college education, I had decided to change my major to computer science, with an unofficial minor in languages and linguistics. I enjoyed the change in majors thoroughly and have never looked back.
In the past 40+ years, I have at one point or another touched upon just about all the different things there are to do in the information technology (IT) field. I have worked at large corporations and small companies; I’ve done software start-ups, and I’ve run my own business from time to time (such as right now). I’ve contributed to classified software, corporate software, and commercial software. I’ve done software development, design, and architecture, software quality assurance, technical support, techincal writing, and that old stand-by, consulting. I’ve hired, led, laid off, and fired — and I’ve been laid off several times myself (such is the IT industry). I’ve written articles, books, and white papers, and I’ve given presentations at various public and private conferences. I’ve helped fix problems with PCs belonging to friends, neighbors, and church members; I’ve reviewed and given recommendations on corporate IT projects costing upwards of half a billion dollars. I’ve taught computer science on a university level. I’ve testified on IT issues before the US Congress; likewise, I’ve testified in US Federal and state courts during lawsuits involving IT. I’ve even been on TV a few times.
Since 1994, the main focus on my professional life has been on why organizations (corporations, government agencies, vendors, etc.) struggle so much with information technology. Three of my books have dealt with those issues; I’m planning at least one or two more books on the subject, plus updated editions of two of the earlier ones. The title of this blog comes from a line spoken by a character in a story (‘My Brother Leopold’, 1973) by Edgar Pangborn: “And still I persist in wondering whether folly must always be our nemesis.” That sums up my feeling as I watch billion-dollar IT projects fail and intellectual property issues tie up entire industries in knots.
Nevertheless, IT is not my life; it is what I do so that I can spend time on that which is really important: my family, my faith, and my friends. And the love of my life is my sweet wife, Sandra, who has put up with all the relocations, job changes, and ups and downs of the past 20+ years. She makes it all worthwhile.
I happen to be a political junkie. I first became aware of politics at age 7, while living at Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands (my dad was a career Navy man). It was the fall of 1960, and all the people around me — including kids on the school bus — were discussing the Presidential race between Kennedy and Nixon. People seemed to largely favor Nixon, but I was certain that Kennedy would win and just accepted it as a matter of course when he did. I’ve been a registered Democrat since turning 18 in 1971, but I’m what used to be called a Scoop Jackson Democrat and what would now be called a Zell Miller Democrat (or “traitor neocon” in the parlance of some of the lefty blogs). Given just how wacko the Democratic Party has gotten in the past 20 years, I really pondered what I would register as after moving to Colorado in 2005 — but Sandra (who is a lifelong Republican) said she just couldn’t see me changing parties, and in the end, I stayed Democrat . . . at least until 2008, when I finally left the Democratic Party in disgust. Can’t say I’m all that happy with the GOP these days, particularly the establishment in Washington, so we’ll see what happens.
I am also something of an knowledge junkie; I have about a long list of blogs and web sites that I review daily, dealing with news, science and technology, entertainment, politics, military issues, foreign affairs, and so on. I likewise read extensively outside of IT: history (including military history), religion, politics and social issues, literature and popular fiction, science, languages. As a young man, I had a formal blessing from an elderly patriarch in which he counseled me to “surround myself with good books.” In our last house, where we lived for nine years, I had 17 freestanding bookshelves, all full, in the lowest floor where my office was, plus several more bookshelves in a storage room, mostly holding back issues of magazines. Sadly, we moved to another home and state in 2014, and about 2/3rd of those book are now in boxes in the basement. Sigh.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.