Sunday, April 06, 2008

Of Webcasts, Vendors, and Perceptions

Some people have pinged me to find out why I never appeared on the webcast with Coral8 a few weeks ago. Basically, it was because of a mess-up by the folks at Incisive Media.

You had to call a certain phone number to participate in the webcast. The operator dutifully asked me for my name and my company. I was then transferred to what turned out to be a listen-only line which enabled me to hear the speakers, but prevented them from hearing me. After the presenter from The Aite Group gave his spiel, the presenters asked if I was on the line. From my perch on the trading floor, I screamed into the phone “I’m here! I’m here!” … but since I was on a listen-only line, nobody on the other side could hear me. I furiously sent emails to the guys at Coral8 and Incisive Media, but all were oblivious. I finally hung up, called back the operators, and explained that I was one of the presenters, and the operator put me on the presenters-only line, but by that time, John Morrell had started his 30-minute pitch for Coral8. I had another meeting scheduled for noon, so I had to leave the webcast.

I have to admit that I had no idea that I was going to be part of a Coral8 infomercial, and if I did, I would not have been part of the webcast. As a good member of MegaBank, I need to be extremely careful about the PERCEPTION of a relationship between a specific vendor and myself. In fact, recently, I felt that I had to cancel the recording of a CEP podcast when I found out that the people who set up the podcast were bringing the Chief Architect of BEA Systems to the interview to ask questions. Not only do I not want to be perceived as a shill for a specific vendor, but I do not want my name on a banner next to the name of a company whose products I am not using. Even if the BEA architect’s questions to me were vendor-neutral, having my name on a podcast that has the BEA name on it as the sponsor would imperceptibly tie me into BEA.

The SOA/Web Services conference that I spoke at a few weeks ago had no vendor tie-in. I was on a panel with someone from Bank of America and from Google. There were no SOA/WebServices vendors on the panel. I am also scheduled to speak about CEP at a big conference in a few months, and I will be careful not to mention the specific technology stack that we are using. I don’t mind being mentioned as a reference customer for a vendor, under the conditions that

- I am actually using the product
- I am completely satisfied with the product
- My current employer gives me permission

Being a member of the management layer at MegaBank and blogging at the same time is a tricky proposition. If you read something here, you need to be thoroughly convinced that I am not shilling for any vendor. I disparage all vendors equally. I am not like certain consulting firms, who have relationships with every vendor and will never render a negative opinion about any of those vendors IN PUBLIC.

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

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