One of the most hilarious things for IT people is to hear non-IT people try to talk about computers and technology. By no stretch of the imagination am I an IT person, but I do see the humor in that sort of thing as well. Here is 75-year-old John Koskinen in a recent interview with Tax Analysts’ William Hoffman:
[W]e have a huge turnover in people under 30 because we’re not hiring that many. But when we’re hiring them, we’re obviously not keeping them at the rate that we would like….Part of that is because our technology is so abysmal. You take people, young people coming in at 23, 25, 27, and they’re used to….stuff that works. You know, they’re at the high end and they Twitter and they do all of that stuff. When you come into an organization still moving people onto Windows 7 from Windows XP, that’s not exactly a cutting-edge technological group….Now, on the other hand, we’ve proved technological, technology people because we are doing great things. We don’t have enough resources, and we’re way behind what we’d like to do. But, you know, the apps we’re doing — Where’s My Refund, Get Transcript, and that — so we’re pushing various state-of-the-art stuff, which is why I refer to our IT as a Model T with a great GPS and wonderful sound system….And so that’s some extent, so we’ve got some state-of-the-art apps and, you know, really ancient — you know the average age of our IT equipment is 15 years. So we have to be the only serious large organization of a financial institution running with average equipment age of 15 years. So our computers are too old, our servers are too old. You know, we still got stuff in COBOL programming….So that’s the problem at the front end.
I’m not 27 any more and I feel like I am used to stuff that works too. It would absolutely drive me crazy to work with 15-year-old computer equipment. I couldn’t work there for 1,000 other reasons, but that would be a big one.
This quote is so full of awesome lines I don’t even know where to start. My favorite line: “You know, they’re at the high end and they Twitter and they do all of that stuff.” It is funny to me that the head guy at the IRS says things like this. I mean, it’s fine, we don’t need a spry young kid at the high end who Twitters or anything. As long as he can manager other high end people who Twitter, things should be fine. The IRS definitely has proved technology people and they’re doing apps and pushing various state-of-the-art stuff. Oh boy, don’t even get me started on the IRS apps, Mr. Koskinen. They aren’t that good. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to put a GPS in a Model T if the Model T can’t go 99.99% of the places shown on the GPS.