Monday, April 25, 2005
One of the great ironies in my departure from IBM was that it was caused in part by the exact thing IBM had advertised as an opportunity when it absorbed Iris - a career path for developers. At IBM there were new positions with high falutin' titles like Senior Technical Staff Members (STSM), Distinguished Engineers (DE) and IBM Fellows.

While I initially aspired to those positions, over time I came to view them with greater and greater disdain. I had naively assumed these positions would be populated with the best and brightest from the company and that this group would reign with wisdom and clarity. My initial expectation were boistered by the fact that some of the best Iris developers were given these titles at the time of the transition. Unfortunately over time as I interacted with from the rest of IBM, I started to notice that those grand positions were often held by people who exhibited some dominent negative personality traits in addition to, or in some cases in place of, technical brilliance. Inflated egos, sycophants, spin doctors and dictators far outnumbered the truly brilliant. To make matters worse, as time passed, I kept seeing people I thought deserving of elevation and recognition passed over while lesser more political people were elevated.

A certain amount of that is expected but what I saw was a emerging culture of technical leaders far more concerned with their careers and position than with the customers and the products they were developing. There were exceptions for sure, I don't want to tar the entire group with the same brush, but even those that I respected would spend their days in meeting after meetings doing tasks that bore little resemblance to software development as I want to to practice it. In the end all the inequities and injustices just drove me nuts and out of IBM.

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