01 Jul 2009
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Words are all you need

By Contributor

I love learning new things about words. I know this makes me sound bookish, but it’s true.

I can’t help it: I love words. One day last year, while a colleague and I were watching the financial world crumble around us, he asked me: “Do you know where the word bankrupt comes from?” I had to admit I didn’t. He pressed on: “Do you know what it means?” Again, I wasn’t entirely sure.

“Does it have something to do with banks losing money and then rupturing because of it?” I answered timidly. “Well sort of, but as you know, bankruptcy doesn’t solely affect banks” he replied. He then went on to tell me that the word derives from Latin: bancus (a bench or table) and ruptus (broken).

He continued to explain that hundreds of years ago in Italy, people would peddle, loan and borrow money from benches in market squares and other public spaces. These were our first bankers; our first fat cats. But when it all went pear-shaped and these bankers went bust, they would dramatically break their benches in half. Then everyone would know “the bank” was closed indefinitely for business – banco rotto, broken bank, bankrupt.

I was quite excited when researching this edition, which focuses on benchmarking and best practice, to come across the meaning behind the word benchmarking. Back in the day when people were still measured for shoes, a cobbler would place a customer’s foot on a bench, mark it for size and draw a pattern around the foot from which to work from. Hence bench and mark became benchmarking, a practice now used to measure and maintain performance within a certain industry.

In this issue IT Brief  looks at how industry bodies such as the NZICT Group and the W3C are developing codes of practice and guidelines for the IT sector, and how difficult it is to develop such frameworks for an industry that is changing at the speed of light.IT Brief is also delighted to introduce CIO Profiled, a new addition to the magazine, and hopefully an informative yet light-hearted cross-section into the minds of the men and women who govern our IT departments. GeekGirl is back, as is the Q & A session.

We live in a fast-paced world that seems to be constantly revolving and evolving.

Sometimes I want to shout “STOP” so that I may have a second to gather my thoughts and dreams, but the modern world does not give us this luxury. You have to think on your feet in this world, as indeed you do in this industry.

Happy reading,

Kelly Gregor

Editor, IT Brief

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