In my last post I reflected on how the turmoil in our industry was visible or tangible at the world’s biggest event we have: Frankfurt Book Fair. Today, I will have a closer look at the opposite dimension. What the turmoil is doing to a person – in this case, to me.
I attend academic conferences on a regular basis, maintain a network of University contacts and try to involve research institutions in my work, so that I can follow major trends in technology and information processing. These contacts are not only valuable for keeping me up-to-date, but also for discussing burning concrete issues in necessary detail.
This week, I was discussing with a few experts at University about some complex issues around contextualization and the significance of relations in search; e.g., how information about user behavior should influence the suggestion of search terms in the legal domain. The partners were proposing some approaches, but in the end they said with a broad smile on their face: “But, of course, we are just starting detailed research on these topics.” I thought to myself: “Good news for you, bad news for me. Lucky you, that you have interesting stuff to look into for the next couple of years.” But I have to deliver! My job is to make my customers’ professional life easier and more efficient! So, although I left the meeting with some recommendations, I still felt quite frustrated.
Today, I am still not happy about this situation, but I also have to ask myself about the alternative: which is either to give up and to continue doing the stuff we have already been doing for decades – or to follow blindly one of the tech gurus and his approach, simply believing that everything will turn out fine in the end.
Instead, I roll up my sleeves and expect that one or two of the University hints will finally lead to a small system improvement and then I can look ahead from that point on and introduce the next steps.
So the turmoil is a never ending challenge with times of frustration and times of success, where the hardest thing is to stick to the vision that is fed by decades of experience – my own and more importantly the experience of others. Sounds like the challenge of life itself!