Chapter 68. Partnership

On Thursday, January 28th, 2010, Rick invited me to join him Buffalo. He had been told I would receive a call on Friday morning, and thought it appropriate I be in the same city where I had received two calls the prior two years. I hadn’t been to Buffalo for 9 months or so. Everyone was very kind, and it was wonderful to see them all.

On Friday morning Sarah Diamond, the head of IBM Global Business Services US Financial Services Practice, called to tell me I had been made partner. I thanked her, and then told her a story I had heard of a bride on her wedding day who had told her mother, “Mom, I am at the end of all my problems,” and the mother replied, “Yes dear, but which end?”

I understood pretty clearly which end of my problems I was at. I began working even harder than I had worked months before to explain these ideas appropriately, and to effectively lead the team.



It’s funny, but on Monday, August 30th 2010, I dropped Rick off at his hotel after having had dinner. The next day would be his last day of work with IBM; he had decided to retire after 33 years of work with it and predecessor firms. As I shook his hand, he smiled and said, “Well, I know which end of my troubles I am at.” I suspect he could tell I didn’t feel real well; I don’t really wonder why I didn’t.


For dinner that evening, I had wanted to take Rick to a restaurant that no longer existed. We had gone there on Thursday, May 9th, 1996, the same day I called Eric Denna and he had told me to “Study history.” I had prepared for that dinner with Rick for a number of months, and presented a chart with four quadrants on it.


1997 Personal Plan Slide


I said as I saw the world, these are the four major areas of interest for an IT professional. I asked him what I should focus on. He said I should focus on Sales. It was good advice. It took me a few years to take it to heart.

I am encouraged by the results as I have worked on promoting the solution. Through this last year, as I have explained these concepts to scores of people who work in these and related fields, they all nod their heads in agreement. In fact, Tony Venezia, a long time PW, PwC audit and then IBM consulting partner worked with me to explain the concepts to an investment bank. He told me that one day as he was telling the story about where finance IT systems would go he started to tell the story I have explained here. He then said, “I realized there was no other story; there is no other way in which the systems can progress. This is the only course possible.” I raised my hands and felt like shouting Hallelujah! I then said, “Now, if it will only happen in my life time, I can die a happy man.”


I am certain that, given time, the world will come to better recognize the unique nature of financial, reporting, risk, and analytical systems and their relationship to the operational systems. As we do so, the systems will provide greater insight, more cost effectively, with greater stability, by employing the principles I have been taught and discovered. We still have a ways to go to turn McCarthy’s vision of what is possible into reality. But there is no other possible course. Of this I have no doubt.