Thirty years ago I got in a heated argument with the head of the computer center at a college, where I was director of assessment, InformationWeek reports. I was convinced that there were new technologies emerging that could help me be more effective and efficient. I wanted the college to implement a new type of database — a relational database management system (RDBMS) — and provide staff with desktop computers. The computer center’s view was that I should sit down and shut up; they were the experts, and I knew nothing. I decided to work for a master’s degree in computer science and show them. I did my master’s thesis in the new field of RDBMS and left the college to head up a computer center in a small college. I then moved on to bigger and more complex schools, with the last 16 years as CIO at George Mason University. Two ironies: first, managing and paying for the university’s RDBMS became one of my biggest financial worries, and, second, I often found myself fighting mobile computing with some of the same passion as the computer center director had fought the idea of desktop computers.

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