James Governor's Monkchips

On good blogging form by Jaime and arbiters of attention

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One of my tenets of good blogging is

Be more competitive by being less competitive.

A great example came in this morning from my good friend Jaime Cardoso. He couldn’t make it to JavaOne because he had more important things to do (like getting married. It was great fun hinting at news he missed from JavaOne when i took him and his beautiful wife Luz to dinner at my fave local restaurant, Saint John’s Bread and Wine, on the second week of their honeymoon. i was eking out the details, lots of nods and winks. geek.)

So here is a Sun reseller in Portugal pointing to a JavaOne presentation on Jini and RFID by another Sun reseller, Bruno Antunes.

In my opinion such a move instantly increases Jaime’s credibility. He is not afraid to point to the competion. Meanwhile though he wants more attention from Sun on the Portuguese market, and the post has obvious tide-raising potential. So its all good. But its definitely not business as usual. Saying nice things about the competition? Eek. I thought the 90s put paid to that… 😉

Scoble offers daily examples of being more competitive by being less competitive. For every coolaid drinking exercise, there is another pointer from him that could get someone severely reprimanded at another company. Here’s a pointer from Scoble to what’s wrong with Sharepoint.

The Sharepoint post looks at first like its all critique but it also attracts requirements via comments, which could help product planning. If the Sharepoint folks have the right mindset they can benefit from the two and fro.

Scoble says:

I actually enjoy a good product “food fight” once in a while. It shakes everyone up and I learn a lot about how people perceive themselves and the product they use. I’ve learned more about Sharepoint this weekend than I have in a long time.

Its no good just rubbishing or ignoring the competition. you have to engage with it. We need to share and spread links and create clusters based on ideas, geographies and other tagsonomies.

I should point out that Scoble suggested we refer to the competition in reasonable terms a while ago: i would say doing so is more important than number 18… It’s also not just a question of being nice to the competition, but rather providing context for your reader. Talking in a vacuum is kind of hard, and even if you could, noone would hear you.

Talking of rising tides it seems some people are increasingly pissed off by what they see as the high-handedness of the Technocrati. The folks at the top, so the argument goes, are pulling their ladders up behind them; they aren’t linking or aknowledging others that have spoken to a subject. A-listers are arrogant.

That’s what stars are and do, isn’t it? You think Mariah Carey would behave the way she does if she worked in a burger bar in Queens?

Rather than whine about the A-list (sometimes i wanna), I would just say lets keep encouraging them to link and play nicely with others. Reward good behaviour. Help them to be more competitive by being less competitive. Link to others that have a strong story to tell.  Dont just link to an A-lister in the “vain” hope they link back. Link to them because they have a good idea or argument you want to reference. This is thlinking. Reward thlinky people.

But if the A-list get star treatment isn’t that life? They are arbiters of attention.

Superstar DJs travel first class.

[As a point of disclosure I should say some A-listers have linked to me from time to time.]

[Another point of clarification. After i came up with thlinking i did some background and found out that someone else got there first, a full four years earlier. Wouldn’t you know it was an A-lister. Step forward Mr Searls. And PLEASE go full text.]







  1. I am glad to see that you fully appreciate the purpose of my post about SharePoint. Others have missed it.

    Getting Scoble to link was very easy — pick a topic that would interest him (e.g. a Microsoft product has a problem) and then link to him. (I also sent an email, which he politely responded to.)

  2. As usual James this is a thought provoking post. This is a subject I have been thinking about for a while. Even though I believe very strongly in what you are saying, I think when you are new to working for a company (as I am) it is wise to figure out the new company’s position on constructive blogging before linking to what might be construed as negative press. As I see it, what you can and can’t say as a new employee is something to be very careful about. I’m going to link to this post from my blog when I get a few minutes and talk about engaging discussion but for now this comment will have to do.

  3. Originally posted at: http://www.hyku.com/blog/archives/000227.html

    Here is a quick story. Back in 96/97 when I first started up my web studio, we had a rather ‘fierce’ competitor in our market. This competitor, who shall remain nameless, loved to bad-mouth us.

    As we would acquire new clients we would ask them how they found out about us, and why they chose our firm over the others in the area. One client gave this response..(paraphrasing)

    “Well actually we had never heard of you, initially we met with your competition since they were considered the market leader. During their initial presentation they spent a great deal of time talking about how much better they were than you. My assistant and I walked out of the meeting and said, ‘I guess we know who we need to talk to, since they’re scared to death of them’ and that’s how we found out about you.”

    Over the course of 1997 we picked up at least three clients in this manner. They almost all had the same story.

    Competitor, thank you for bad-mouthing me.

  4. I guess Jaimes’ post is about the greater good (R&D with Java technology) and some national pride. Publicizing the competitors solution actually shows the market (atleast the portuguese market which is more MS biased) that Java is a viable solution and costumers show take notice… If the Java industry grows as a whole, everyone stands to gain. Actually, isn’t it curious that even though these 3 companies managed to hold a presentation at JavaOne, Bruno Antunes had to setup a blog himself to post the presentation. Maybe companies in Portugal (ideally with Suns’ coordination) should unite more in presenting their Java based solutions, in a MS dominated marketplace.

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