I just read Tony Asaro’s blog entry entitled “EMC Anti-Social Media Gang.” He says that the EMC trio of Chuck Hollis, Barry Burke, and Mark Twomey has targeted him with personal attacks using terms like “industry streetwalker” and “pimping his services.” I read also with interest Chuck Hollis’ reply to the post, and Tony’s response to, well, you know how that works. I have some thoughts on this subject. Click Read More to see them.
The word of the day is: “silly” (A virtual tip of the hat to Stephen Colbert.)
On one side of this debate we have W-2’d employees of vendors who are not officially paid to blog. They all have a “day job” that involves anything from marketing to being an SE in the field. Then they have a blog where they unofficially talk about their company and its products. The opinions are not those of their employer, etc.
On the other side of this debate we have folks like Tony Asaro and Jerome Wendt who are paid by companies to blog for them. Their “day job” is to create and promote these blogs.
Since we’re talking about transparency, I will say that I technically fall into the first category since I do now work for Tech Target. Although I don’t really blog about Tech Target. I blog about backups and such. But I do have a day job and I’m not being paid by Tech Target to blog.
Here’s what I think: both sides are hired guns and to say anything else is silly.
I agree with Tony that vendor bloggers can’t claim the moral high ground because they are doing this “on their own time.” I say this for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the timing of their blog posts and comments. Since they’re posting to their blog literally all hours of the day and night, they must have a pretty flexible schedule — and I’ll bet they do. I say this also because I’m not really sure what “on your own time” means in this industry. All of these employees are “exempt” employees, meaning that they are salaried, not hourly people. Most people in such positions work all kinds of crazy hours and that’s what’s expected of you — especially when it’s crunch time. It’s really hard to wrap your head around the concepts of “on the clock” and “off the clock” when you’re a “knowledge worker,” which is what we all are. There has actually been scores of books written on this. So I don’t agree with Chuck’s assertion that thissomehow makes their posts any more holier than Tony’s.
What I do know is that as long as they continue to post good things about their employer, they will have a competitive advantage over a fellow employee that doesn’t blog. Their employer will have more of a reason to keep them employeed than they do the next guy. Another purpose of their blog is also to further the aims of the company so that the company continues to be in business so they continue to get paid. What would happen if they start blogging things that aren’t in keeping with their company’s positions? At a minimum they’d be going against the purposes of the blog. They’d also be biting the hand that feeds them and I think they’d be fired in a heart-beat. So while they may not be getting paid to blog, I’d say that they’re continuing to get paid because they blog.
Can Tony and Jerome claim the moral high ground either? I don’t think so. In the end, they would also lose their job if their blog posts went against the aims of the companies that were paying them to blog. I see them as both the same, which I think was Tony’s point. His posts are no more “sold out” to the cause of HDS/Data Domain than the Chuck’s are to EMC.
Just how sold out are these blogs, then? As Stephen Foskett said in his blog (which I would put in the first category of vendor blogs), “judge me by what I say, not by who signs my paycheck.”
Alright, so let’s do that with any of the blogs referenced above. Take any one of these blogs and peruse all their posts. Do you read anything that isn’t in support of the company that the blog supports? Look for posts like this:
- A post on Val’s (NetApp) blog that supports the idea that it’s bad that NetApp is the only major target dedupe vendor to not offer RAID6.
- A post on any of Tony’s blogs that suggest that it would be a bad thing to buy a Diligent (IBM) VTL from HDS right now, while they figure out what they’re going to do for a long-term product in that space.
- A post on Scott Waterhouse’s blog that talks about how horrible it is that NetWorker STILL doesn’t support automated cloning of their backups without requiring the user to write a shell script.
- A post on Brian Bile’s blog talking about the importance of global deduplication (until they ship it, that is.)
- A post on Jay Livens’ (SEPATON) blog that talks about how it stinks that they don’t support NetWorker with their content-aware dedupe engine.
Of course you don’t see posts like those! You’re probably looking at me funny suggesting that there ever would be such posts. What am I? Being silly?
But are you telling me that Chuck agrees with every single thing that EMC is doing and thinks that every single product that they have is without flaw? Are you telling me that Tony has no gripes about HDS? Are you saying that Val has no suggestions about how to make their products better? Then why don’t we see any of those thoughts in their blogs?
Because that would be … what’s the word? Silly
To Chuck/Barry/Mark: I don’t care whether or not you’re paid to blog for EMC. It’s obvious from your posts that the purpose of your blog is to further the aims of EMC, and to say anything else is just silly. And if you or of your buddies used words like “pimp” and “streetwalker” to refer to Tony, that kind of terminology is totally unprofessional and you should apologize. (I say IF because I actually couldn’t find the phrases to which Tony refers anywhere in your or his blog.)
To Tony: You ARE taking money to blog for vendors. That makes you a hired gun. And anyone who says they can take money from a vendor and still write whatever comes to their mind is just being silly.
So I’m back to my original point: both sides are hired guns and to say anything else is silly. And that’s the word of the day.
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Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.