Can IT Vendors be Objective?
Here is another guest post that I wrote for An Information Security Place. This is something that I am worked up about, so I am re-publishing it here to maximize the audience. 🙂
Can IT Vendors truly be objective? Or does everything they say have to be viewed through a lens of “they are trying to sell me something”?
Join me while I rant…
Personally, I think IT vendors can be objective.
Sure, we manufacture and sell things…
*Gasp* – We even profit from selling.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t be objective.
i.e. – I try to provide solid vendor-neutral information to the wireless community through my blog, http://wifijeidi.com.
(In fact, only 2 of the nearly 40 blog posts I have completed to-date have been about my employer, Xirrus.)
However, not everyone sees it that way.
Let me give you an example…
I requested press access to an industry event as a blogger.
However, I was told that I can’t get a pass of this nature because I work for a vendor.
Furthermore, I was told that bloggers of major publications (ComputerWorld, Network World, ZDNet, etc.) would qualify.
So I went out seeking a spot with one of these publications as one of their bloggers.
(I even had a solid lead directly to an editor with a reference from another well know blogger at one of these publications.)
However, I was turned down again. Because I work for a vendor.
Presumably, working for a vendor means that I can’t be objective. Which I personally think is %^&$*&!
Let’s take a look at some profiles of bloggers who have been picked up by these publications. I would like to take a closer look at two common blogger profiles: Value Added Resellers (VARs) and Independent Consultants.
I have noticed that if you work for a VAR, you can blog for major publications. Correct me if I am wrong – as a VAR, don’t you sell some vendor’s equipment, but not others? It would seem to me, in that position, it is possible to have nuances or conflicting agendas. At least working for a manufacturer, you know where my “official” loyalties are.
Other common profile for bloggers on these publications is that of an “independent” consultant. I would think a large portion of their livelihood depends on their ability to provide consulting services. If that’s the case, don’t you think they would blog about things that (at least indirectly) drive their own business? After all, their financial success is directly tied to the success of a single person – themselves. Working for a manufacturer (or any large organization) mitigates this factor because my financial situation is determined by the success of the group, and not by what I do or say to drive my own consulting business.
This isn’t intended as an attack on publications or their bloggers, just an honest discussion of how they can be objective, but somehow it is perceived that I can’t. What about my credentials?!?
Besides working for a vendor (for several months), I have also worked as a consultant and auditor (for many years). I hold over a dozen IT certifications, ALL of which are vendor-neutral. On my LinkedIn profile, I have the coveted “500+ connections”, many of who are employed by my competition – Aruba, Meru, Motorola, etc. I started my blog to serve as a thought leader and I am a frequent speaker at industry events, professional organization meetings, and universities.
If you know someone at an IT publication that is willing to have me as a wireless networking and security blogger, have them contact me at email@example.com
Wait, I had better not use my corporate email address. That might signal I can’t be objective. 🙂
Instead, have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org