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A few changes you should know about

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This week it’s all about me.

As of today, IT Catalysts will no longer accept new clients. That’s because as of today I’m rejoining my old compadres at what used to be Perot Systems and is now Dell Services. And while I received the actual offer one day before Michael Dell took the company private, there’s no truth to the rumor that he did so to make sure the deal got done before investors learned I was joining the firm and panicked.

Well, I’m pretty sure there’s no truth to it …

Here’s what’s going to change:

Keep the Joint Running isn’t going to change very much. Except for this: My affiliation with Dell means I’ll be biting my digital tongue from time to time, refraining from industry commentary when any appearance of conflict of interest might taint it. Aside from that, KJR will cover its usual topics: Anything and everything about business and IT leadership, management, what they’re supposed to accomplish and how they can best accomplish it.

Advice Line will change a lot more. Namely, it’s going to go away. This is painful for both me and for my friends at InfoWorld. It’s like this, though: The Advice Lines I write that get the most attention are industry commentaries. They’d have the same conflict of interest taint in InfoWorld as in Keep the Joint Running, only in InfoWorld they’d taint the entire publication, not just me. We couldn’t figure out a way around this, so after sixteen years I’ll no longer have a weekly presence there.

Email correspondence: No change here. Write if you’re in the mood. If you agree, compliments are always welcome. If you don’t, pointing out what I’ve missed is even more welcome.

If you need advice, my newfound association with Dell Services doesn’t mean I can’t give it to you without charging you. It does mean that when the help you need goes beyond what we can handle in a bit of electronic back-and-forth and it’s time for a more formal consulting relationship …

Consulting: The coverage isn’t going to change all that much, on the grounds that my expertise hasn’t changed just because my corporate affiliation has. If you need help and I seem to be the logical source for it, email me just as you would have before and I’ll get the ball rolling.

I’ll now have all the resources of Dell Services to draw on, so if you need help that’s beyond my personal areas of expertise, instead of calling on “the people in my network” I’ll be calling on my colleagues at Dell Services.

I no longer set my own rates and terms of engagement, though.

That’s about it. Personally, I expect to be working more in teams and on larger engagements than previously, and I’ll have to adjust to the strange sensation of reporting to someone instead of reporting only to my clients. I’m sure you have lots of empathy for me on that score …

Anyway, I figured I’d better say something here, operating on the well-known theory of business communication: Ask the question, “Who should know about this?” and include whoever is on the list in whatever message you’re delivering.

You’re on the list.

Comments (31)

  • Best Wishes at Dell.
    Do you get to live in Austin?
    I enjoy KJR every time. It reminds me why I left management.
    Charles Nicholson
    Santa BArbara, CA

  • Congratulations! Good move for you and good move for Dell.

  • Congratulations and best wishes on the new job! I’m going to miss the Advice Line, but its these columns that I always find myself forwarding to my colleagues, so I hope you can keep them up.

  • Best wishes on the new job. I appreciate your honesty and, GASP, sense of ethics. I plan to keep reading the column and seeing what I can pick up that helps me in my day to day activities as a manager.

  • First of all, thank you. Over the years in both KJR and Advice Line you’ve provided a tremendous amount of insight, entertainment and helpful information … all for free. I appreciate it, and I’m sure that many others do as well.

    Second, best of luck with Dell Consulting!

    And third, I’ll miss Advice Line. Maybe you could go back to the old format, where readers ask questions and you answer. That way you could focus more on specific environments and less on industry commentary.

    But mostly, thank you and good luck!

  • Bob,

    I’m so glad you’re going to keep the joint running. I’m one of your thousands of fans.

    Good luck at your new gig!

  • Bob:
    Many of your observations have made me laugh, scream, shout, etc.

    Keep the Joint Running and give ’em hell.

    Sincerely . . . all the best…Jim

  • I think Darth (Vader) summed it up when he said “Welcome to the dark side, young Skywalker” or something like that.

    My hope is that there is a stack of money so high that you cannot see over it (and the vector is pointing your way).

    John Blair

  • Congratulations! I have been a follower since the mid-90’s, InfoWorld days when I enjoyed my weekly dose of Lewis, Metcalfe and Foster. Thanks for all the great insights over the years!

    • I hope your new business chapter at Dell works out as you hope. Maybe you can inject some of Adam Hartung’s thoughts from 13 February 2013 into the company.

      Thanks for keeping KJR going. I’ve been reading your columns since the 1990’s. Each week is new treat for the mind. Your columns are always a refreshing escape from the usual buzzword speak and marketing babble flooding IT.

      Will the threads on Next-Generation IT, analysis of band-wagon topics (e.g., big data, BYOD, cloud), musings on business/IT strategy, Technical Architecture thoughts, advice on becoming a CIO (or a better CIO) from InfoWorld emerge here at IS Survivor?

      • Thanks for the kind wishes. I won’t be involved in product strategy, so no chance of injecting either Adam’s thoughts or my own there. And understand, Adam and I don’t entirely agree about this stuff. The PC marketplace is strong in spite of what most analysts say. The problem is that it isn’t growing – it’s a replacement marketplace, which has very different dynamics.

        What Adam tends to miss is the importance of IT infrastructure – he focuses on end-user devices. They’re important, especially if your focus is stock price. But for an IT company to be durable, infrastructure matters more (in my opinion, at least).

        As for the stuff I’ve been covering in Advice Line, a lot of it will come over to KJR. What won’t is anything that might small of conflict of interest or employer bias. For example, I won’t be commenting about Apple or HP anymore. My tongue might end up pretty bloody from having to bite it from time to time, but that’s just how it has to be.

        Thanks for asking, and for the encouragement.

  • COL!

    I have enjoyed your columns for years & will look forward to a continuance

  • Good luck Bob, I’ve always enjoyed your insight, it’s way ahead of the curve. Keep up the good work!

  • Congratulations and wish you all the best.

  • Sad for us (re: Advice Line’s loss).

    HAPPY for you!

    Thank goodness you’re not completely “disappearing” — I don’t know if I could survive without KJR. I find it thought provoking and an inspiration to improve.


  • Bob –
    I deeply appreciate your articles – I even bought your books! – but with this occassion I’m taking the time to let you know that I am a loyal, long-time reader. (I am finally filling that vacuum a litle.)

    I am glad you plan to keep writing, and wish you the best in your position with Dell.

  • Congratulations, Bob! Glad you’re Keeping the Joint Running. Keep up the good work.

  • Ditto all the comments above – will miss Advice Line but very glad you will continue writing!

  • Please tell me you will still be publishing – Leading IT and Bare Bones are some of the best resources out there. (I just spent several days in Austin spreading the word at the Educause regional conference, so hopefully more sales will increase that likelihood.) Congratulations on the new gig and try not to tear ’em too bad over there. 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words. As mentioned, I’ll continue to publish KJR, and I’m starting to think about what the next book might be.

      I appreciate the encouragement, and the compliments.

  • Bob,

    Thanks for all the great information, insights, and advice (and all the stuff already posted). I especially appreciated your very clear e-mail explanation of a point on which I queried you.

    Best wishes for more success.

  • Congratulations Bob. Good luck. It has been a pleasure reading your postings and I hope will continue to be so.

  • Best of luck and continued success.
    I have enjoyed your insights, thoughts, and exasperations, and look forward to seeing if “working for da’ man” changes your edge (I feel it won’t).

  • Best of luck in your new position. I’ve been reading your columns since you started, and have to say that they’ve kept my interest over all the years! Glad to hear that we’ll get to keep up with Keep The Joint Running!

  • Best wishes, and Dell is a most fortunate company to have your services. Your insight and common sense are impressive and have greatly influenced my work (to the better).

  • Hi Bob,

    Congratulations. Best move Dell made in years… Hope you still find time to write new books, love them.

    Best Regards,


  • Congrats on your new venture. … Dell is lucky to have your expertise. I wish you well.

  • One more thing, I am looking forward to your next book.

Comments are closed.