Techies don't like Theory

The word theory to a technologist can be discomforting, as if  finger nails are being drawn down the chalk board. I see this thought bubble; "We're not in university, we're running tech, we're different". And different appears to mean as if that's a technologist's special gift, to embrace unpredictable events, even use it as an excuse to adopt more technology. Smells like chaos to me.

Clay Christensen in 2004 reminds us that theory is a great tool for describing causality and improves the odds of predicting outcomes.

And so that’s what I want to talk about is, “What are these variables that we have to control?” And in kind of an unabashed way, I’m going to structure this around theories of strategy and management. And the word “theory” gets a bum rap amongst some managers because it’s associated with the word “theoretical,” which connotes “impractical.” But a theory is actually a very practical thing because it’s a statement of causality, a statement of what causes what and why.

Listen to his talk here.

Some technologists might think the new is better than the old and that there is nothing to learn from the old. Well many theories in use today are old and appear to be useful for the future.