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Engineering, Olympics, and The Walking Dead?

How do you compete with the 2014 Olympics for publicity… interest… viewers?  If you are behind The Walking Dead, you start with live New Yorkers and some sidewalk grates.  This other-worldly scene was a brilliantly engineered mix of events – timed, themed, and carried out perfectly to capture our collective imaginations – to hook us into watching the season-opener of a television show.


In less than twenty four hours, 41 million viewers zoomed-in to catch New Yorkers gasping in horror or amusement as zombie appendages poked and dangled above the grates of a city sidewalk.  All this engineering…for one episode of a television show!


From the show premise, to the advertising plans and people – someone skillfully engineered a storyline.  Who knew storytelling was an engineering discipline?  A discipline not so unlike engineering that goes into planes, trains, automobiles… bridges, buildings, and roadways.  And, information technology.


We expect smart engineering in key items we use every day to get around, buy and ship items, to be entertained.  We appreciate and reward solid engineering, “we” being the business people, politicians, investors, and constituents who entrust our good names and reputations, our finances and futures, and our family’s safety and happiness to what is engineered purposefully by professionals.


Why is it, then, when it comes to information technology - the open Internet, data storage and retrieval systems, computers -  our thoughts shift to, “Our engineers just want to engineer things” …as if that is a bad thing?  Instead, we chase “as-a-Service” offerings, devise “Cloud First” budget policies, slash ‘discretionary’ funding for research and capital expense projects, and consolidate our data centers whilst new data centers pop-up in places like Blacksburg and Clarksville to host Cloud data? When it comes to Information Technology, “we” don’t seem to expect or reward engineering anything… not internally, anyway.  


In fact, we label it “over engineering” and shun it to the point of not engineering anything at all. We adopt, assemble, or leverage componentry. We applaud the use of consumer-grade offerings. We encourage and reward Corporate Boards and Congressional overseers to slash IT budgets.  We cheer when a policy is set to constrain engineers when it comes to making engineering-types of decisions. 


And then, we gasp(!!) with each new failure that pops up to ensnarl, impede, damage, and destroy work, history, progress, and safety.  We suddenly find our awareness; did we really intend to conjure these problems for ourselves… like the characters we catch weekly in The Walking Dead?


Next time you look at those funny adverts showing zombies grasping out from the underworld to snag a human – think of your friendly colleague, the engineer.   Better yet, approve that line item in your R&D budget  (the one about reducing data processing latency and improving data retrieval times), catch the latest work of those budding engineers at your local high school science fair; donate to a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program, or endorse your favorite system / server / storage engineer on Linked-In.


Remember, from the telecommunications networks you use to watch videos of the Zombie Apocalypse in New York City’s grated sidewalk underworld to the device you watched it on – someone engineered it…… all of it.   To be engaging.  To provide great video and sound.  To work flawlessly.


To find out more about how great engineering can increase the value of the dollars you invest in your information technology, and how great storage and server engineering can save you money, prevent unintended financial consequences, protect your data, and keep your stakeholders happy?   Contact ViON……………. You’ll be glad you did.






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