Spend It Like Beckham

The never-ending wave of bad-news headlines is prompting many of us to run for the hills. And it’s understandable if we all decide to spend the next few months — or years — with our heads buried in the sand. There’s no great shame in that.

But there’s no glory, either. And there’s probably a whole lot of risk.

As tempting as it may be to emulate the turtle and simply ride out the storm, technology decision makers risk dooming their companies that way. As heretical as it sounds, companies that can afford to increase spending on technology should do it — or risk losing a golden opportunity to build a foundation for future growth. While your competitors are cowering, you can either aggressively move to out-innovate them, or run the very real risk of being trampled when things eventually bottom out and head toward recovery.

I can see the rolling eyes already. Hear me out. Two simple observations might help:

1. From adversity comes opportunity. Times of great economic distress are typically great incubators for serious leaps forward:
•    The Great Depression drove aviation into the mainstream.
•    The PC revolution’s roots lay in the early ’80s recession.
•    The Internet hit its stride following the early ’90s downturn.
•    The Internet bust at the turn of the millennium drove the simultaneous booms in broadband and mobility.

2.  Market leaders continue to spend big. Research In Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry, is hiring 3,000 people to fuel…


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