IT Life: The Journey To Business Manoeuvrability

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Thoughtworks’ Ian Cartwright takes us through his career in IT, admiration for Elon Musk and his predictions for the future

Ian Cartwright is The Principal at ThoughtWorks, where he provides technical oversight for client projects. He talks about his admiration of Elon Musk and Rolls Royce as well as his career in technology.

 What has been your favourite project so far?

Ian Cartwright ThoughtworksSilent Herdsman. I had never worked in the agriculture/farm space and the client had a brilliant idea. Being able to build them something in the cloud was an amazing experience.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?

C-sharp and java. I was at ThoughtWorks at the time and we were working on a product catalogue system for a music company.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

Direct neural interfaces. This may seem like science fiction but technology is accelerating at such a fast pace that it’s close that we may realise.

Who’s your tech hero?

Elon Musk. As a co-founder of Paypal, he went and took his earnings to create something completely different – SpaceX and Tesla. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of his views, I think that he understands that ultimately software is about changing the physical world.

Who’s your tech villain?

Steve Ballmer – because of his cancer/open source analogy. He referred to the free operating system Linux as a “cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches” which did the industry a big disservice by turning people away from open source.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?

When I was in university, we used various networking technologies, then in my final year we heard about Mosaic and the World Wide Web which Tim Berners-Lees had invented. This changed the world and will continue to do so.

I use my Android phone (and my apps) the most as I can pretty much do everything on it – about the only thing I can’t do as of now is write code and develop software on it.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?

CloudRolls Royce (aero engines, not cars) because of their excellence in engineering and culture of innovation.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

Definitely the accelerating pace of change – things are moving faster and faster and that is not going to stop any time soon. New things are constantly coming to market which can be incredibly challenging – every two years you’re out of date.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?

The real question is public or private cloud? That’s the only decision you need to make.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be a scientist. I was always taking stuff to bits and I discovered computers when I was 11 or 12 years old; I’ve been fascinated with them ever since.


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