Getting entrepreneurial in 2008

A fond farewell from an intrepid columnist, who exits offering shameless self-promotion for two adrenaline-boosting ventures

When I wrote my first InfoWorld article back in December 2001, I had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. Reading back over that masterpiece, "Dawn of the real-time enterprise," is scary. I didn't understand the technology, the acronyms, or how to filter out the inevitable vendor hype. I called friends to ask, what's J2EE? What's JMS? What's OLAP? And when they explained it, I pretended to understand, but still didn't.

Worse, I drank the Kool-Aid that technology was moving so fast it would soon solve all enterprise problems. Six years later, having been around the block, I'm hardened and calloused, an enterprise IT realist. I still believe in the amazing potential of IT to transform companies, careers, and consumer experiences. But I know now that technology is just one piece of the puzzle – it's really all about people, strategy, and execution.

I haven't lost my enthusiasm for technology, that's for sure. On the contrary, I'm so busy these days with two technology-related businesses, I no longer have time to do justice to a weekly column. So it's official: This will be my last Enterprise Insight column, though I'll continue to contribute to InfoWorld. And so now (humor me), I want to use this column to shamelessly plug these two business ventures, plus thank some great people.

First, the self-promotion: For the past several years, I've run a consulting and market research practice called Enterprise Insight, where I've focused on CIOs and understanding their key business issues. I've spent lots of time meeting with CIOs, designing and moderating CIO thought leadership events and panels, and generally trying to get "inside the mind of the CIO." I help CIOs network with each other and share insights, and help the technology community understand what's driving CIOs' decisions. So if you need someone to fly to Vegas and tell your salespeople what CIOs really care about, give me a call.

My second venture is very different, but equally energizing. It's a new Web site on antiques and collecting, which have been a passion of mine for several years. The goal of the site,, is to be a showcase for "the best of antiques and collecting," a place where you can browse great antiques and collectibles in hundreds of categories and learn about them.

If you're into antiques or a collector yourself, go straight to our category index of antiques and collectibles, or type whatever you collect into the search box. Otherwise, start with our Hall of Fame, a showcase of the best collector sites on the Web. And if you just want to look at a few sample pages, here's some I personally think are really cool: antique typewriters, antique radios, vintage guitars, antique tractors, antique bottles, Coca-Cola collectibles, antique model cars, vintage computers, vintage posters, and (happy holidays) Christmas antiques.

If you feel like it, drop me a note (using the e-mail above or the contact page on and let me know what you think. What could be improved or added? What do you collect? And of course, thanks in advance for spreading the word about the site to any collector or antique-lover friends you may have.

Finally… thanks to all the readers who've read my previous 118 columns, e-mailed me, flamed me, kept me honest, and pushed me with good ideas and fresh perspectives. And thanks to the many great people at InfoWorld I've worked with since 2001, with a special mention for Doug Dineley, my patient and forgiving editor those first two years, and Eric Knorr, who's had to put up with me and my attitude ever since.

Thanks all, and have a great 2008!