Bulletin 31 August 2018. Where the heck did GDPR go?

Moving from ‘the’ thing to ‘a’ thing…

If anyone wants to see the inner workings of the tech industry writ large, look no further than GDPR. No, I’m not talking about the need for good data, etc, but more about how much of a difference marketing dollars make. 

One minute, it was the topic on the tip of every organisation’s tongue; the next, it just wasn’t. It just vanished, from the press, from web sites, from the tech dialogue. It’s not just me thinking this (beware the anecdotal evidence; Google Trends shows it down to 10% of its May-time peak. 

Are we to surmise that it’s a done deal, that every organisation now has a watertight policy in place, that chief compliance officers are being made redundant? Of course not: GDPR is still there, right where the Data Protection Act was (in the UK, and others were elsewhere) before it. 

No; rather, it no longer has the fat lens of the marketing budget behind it. The system we have works like this: pick a topic, talk about it at your events and across your content streams, assign a PR agency to engage with journalists, and lo and behold, it becomes the most important thing in the world. 

Particularly if your competition does the same. Tech companies, consulting and law firms all know the system works, which is why they do it. Of course, you need a valid reason to bring it up: for a provider, this is most likely to be that you can make money by talking about it, or that you might lose money if you don’t. 

Suffice to say that some vendors I’m speaking to, even those big ones, don’t want to talk about GDPR anymore. Some still do, because it suits their needs: they’re not wrong to do so. If you’re a hammer manufacturer, it’s a good idea to talk about nails. 

At the same time, we punters need to be clear on one thing: a topic of discussion should not be seen as a priority just because it is being discussed. It’s what turned me off from cloud in the first place: nothing wrong with it as ‘a’ thing, but it was never ‘the’ thing. 

On a similar note, it’s why I smile when I see complex topics being treated as simple, even when everyone knows they are not. Such as DevOps, for example. With this in mind, here’s an article for the week. 


Five steps to delivering DevOps at scale

DevOps is one of those fantastically vague technology trends: it’s not a product or service, it’s not really even a methodology… but at the same time, it is possible to get it wrong. In this article, I distil down five things I learned from Puppet’s Nigel Kersten, in a recent webinar. Here to help, I hope!


In other news… something novel

No, it’s not Paganini, but something else. Now at 60K words. Watch this space. 

This is the 35th edition of this newsletter, which certainly feels like quite a thing. Thank you for sticking with it. 

All the best, Jon

Also published on Medium.

Bulletin 31 August 2018. Where the heck did GDPR go?

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