Real Perspective

In his post “Reality Distortion“, Evan Yares asks an important question: “Given all the marketing hype and reality distortion out there, how does a person in the CAD industry gain a bigger perspective?”. He says, “No matter how it’s structured, a vendor-hosted conference can never provide real perspective.”

Vendor-hosted conferences are becoming all-expense paid vacations for members of the press and some members of the press have been frank enough to admit it. Vendors and the press seem to have a “you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” kind of a relationship, since both need each other to further their business goals. Vendors go out of their way to please journalists, and one would expect that any sensible journalist will return the favour. After all, the press need the vendors (not their readers) to advertise on their magazines, web sites, newsletters, etc. Journalists have to walk a fine line every time they write something. They tend to let all hell break loose when praising a vendor but choose their words carefully when they criticize. If they push too hard they risk having to pay for the next vendor-hosted conference, or even worse, being not invited or blacklisted altogether. And then there is also the fear of significant loss in ad revenue for their publication.

Given this scenerio, I believe that real perspective can be found on unmoderated blogs. I say “unmoderated” because a blog where reader comments have to be approved by the blogger is actually a one way conversation, similar to a magazine article, product review or newsletter.

Another thing which helps a good discussion is the ability to post comments anonymously. This is particularly helpful when discussing controversial topics. I noticed that out of the 112 comments on my blog, 28 are anonymous. That’s 25%. Hell, I must be talking some real controversial stuff.

I have come across only a handful of journalists who give the devil his due, and I find their writings worth reading. I understand that being a journalist is not as easy as it may seem and I appreciate what they do. I am thankful that I am a blogger and not a journalist. I know I would have made a lousy journalist.

  • ralph

    >choose their words carefully
    >when they criticize.

    There is a third reason: fear of law suits, of which I have been threatened with three times — by CAD vendors — in my short career.

    I don’t write the way I want to, because I always have to temper my words with the thought, “Will this sufficiently offend someone to lose everything I own to lawyers?”

    It’s knowing that billion-dollar-a-year corporations can bankrupt me, if they so choose.

    Praising everyone is one way to alleviate the worry.

  • ralph

    >choose their words carefully>when they criticize.There is a third reason: fear of law suits, of which I have been threatened with three times — by CAD vendors — in my short career. I don’t write the way I want to, because I always have to temper my words with the thought, “Will this sufficiently offend someone to lose everything I own to lawyers?”It’s knowing that billion-dollar-a-year corporations can bankrupt me, if they so choose.Praising everyone is one way to alleviate the worry.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Ralph, I enjoy your blog and look forward to your UpFront.eZine weekly every Tuesday morning (India). In fact, I read your ezine while having breakfast on my iPAQ PDA phone (I am a bit of a gizmo freak myself). My wife wonders what could be more interesting than the morning newspaper or CNN or even herself.

    Don’t push too hard. We don’t want to see you bankrupt.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Ralph, I enjoy your blog and look forward to your UpFront.eZine weekly every Tuesday morning (India). In fact, I read your ezine while having breakfast on my iPAQ PDA phone (I am a bit of a gizmo freak myself). My wife wonders what could be more interesting than the morning newspaper or CNN or even herself.Don’t push too hard. We don’t want to see you bankrupt.

  • Robin Capper

    Moderation doesn’t have to mean censorship. I toggle moderation on/off depending on the environment. Currently comments are OK (tempting fate…) but I have track-back moderation on thanks to a bunch of spam track-backs.
    Say what you like about me in the comments but I reserve the right to edit comments that will leave me bankrupt or unemployed!

  • Robin Capper

    Moderation doesn’t have to mean censorship. I toggle moderation on/off depending on the environment. Currently comments are OK (tempting fate…) but I have track-back moderation on thanks to a bunch of spam track-backs.Say what you like about me in the comments but I reserve the right to edit comments that will leave me bankrupt or unemployed!

  • R.Paul Waddington

    It is not just journalist that have a “Fear of law suits”. CAD vendors are the only suppliers, to me and my employers, I have ever worked with that answer criticism of the products or services with letters from solicitors and lawyers, before they find out what are the facts behind the complaint.
    The entire industry needs far greater scrutiny by consumer advocates, journalists and users, and a healthy industry and wise executives understand that criticism, even criticism “close to the bone” is of value in taking vendors, products and customers forward.
    The only Journalist and publications that have lasted a long time (and are worth reading), in the Engineering world, are those that embrace their industries ‘warts and all’ praising when its due and criticising when its necessary.

  • R.Paul Waddington

    It is not just journalist that have a “Fear of law suits”. CAD vendors are the only suppliers, to me and my employers, I have ever worked with that answer criticism of the products or services with letters from solicitors and lawyers, before they find out what are the facts behind the complaint.The entire industry needs far greater scrutiny by consumer advocates, journalists and users, and a healthy industry and wise executives understand that criticism, even criticism “close to the bone” is of value in taking vendors, products and customers forward.The only Journalist and publications that have lasted a long time (and are worth reading), in the Engineering world, are those that embrace their industries ‘warts and all’ praising when its due and criticising when its necessary.

  • Edwin Muirhead

    I’d agree with your post, it’s better to allow people to make their own comments and provide their own perspective on issues in this industry… however usually the only people posting are those who write for a living, or sell software… it’s rare to hear posts from a true “user”.
    Edwin

  • Edwin Muirhead

    I’d agree with your post, it’s better to allow people to make their own comments and provide their own perspective on issues in this industry… however usually the only people posting are those who write for a living, or sell software… it’s rare to hear posts from a true “user”.Edwin