In recent times tech marketing has gone into overdrive. Everywhere you look there’s the next big thing that will converge, simplify and automate my data center infrastructure so I’ve more time to work out what to do on holidays in the Seychelles. I wish that’s where I was going on holidays next! If I was, maybe I’d get to see some of the odd but fascinating tropical bird mating rituals. Given the amount of pomp and circumstance that’s been going on around some vendors recent releases you’d be forgiven for confusing the two. Both the mating ritual and the vendors are seeking the attention of their desired partner and will go to great lengths to get it. You have to pull back the feathers to really see what’s going on behind the scenes to fully understand if its someone you want to get into bed with.
There’s just so much change going on that it’s almost impossible to keep on top of it all. And storage is the main playground for all the cool kids. In one corner we have the hyper-converged players, in another the pure Flash kids, in another the bigger converged infrastructure kids and more recently we’ve started to see some new guys bringing a shiny ball to the secondary storage party (I’m looking at you Rubrik, Cohesity and even Catalogic). It’s crowded and everyone want to be heard and to get their message out. As a tech geek it’s awesome. So much change, so many options and so much innovation. We all love new technology, it makes us all feel warm and fuzzy. It’s very easy to get excited by something new and buy into the marketing but when you take a step back and look at your requirements you may well find that the new tech is not hitting all your needs and that single solution one-size-fits-all is as useful as that elusive single-pane-of-glass. My issue is not with the multitude new products and the innovation itself but with the attitude and outlook of those working for the vendors and how the vendor themselves carry-on in public media such as Twitter.
A lot of new vendors are going toe to toe with the old school vendors like EMC, IBM and Netapp. Each and every win is called out on Twitter with the vendor beaten in the deal being called out. It’s really not classy or professional. Up and coming vendors should focus on what they can deliver and not take swipes at everyone else. Simplivity are one such vendor. Quietly going about their work without having a pissing contest. It’s really admirable compared to how others behave. There are a few others who behave professionally and I’m not tarnishing everyone with the same brush. I think it really comes down to company culture and that’s usually instigated from the top down. It’s not just how the vendor themselves behave but more importantly how their employees behave. People join companies and drink the koolaid. These people are hired because of their passion for technology, their vast knowledge and a bunch of other arbitrary reasons. Generally they are not hired for their lovely personality or a shy disposition (This does depend on the company culture once again). However, with social media now being used for influence marketing, thanks geekwhisperers, it becomes obvious who are bullish, even bullies, and who are decent people that respect others opinions. As the end user of these vendor products I not only invest in the technology but the people, and this isn’t just because of their technical ability. I also judge them on how they treat others. I don’t want to give money or time to a bully or a misogynist. I value relationships and technology and satisfying my business goals. Integrity is another key trait. My goal isn’t to just be a vendor sale to hit their quarterly target. There’s so much choice out there and every vendor has their pros and cons but if you need to shit talk about a competitor to sell your product, then you don’t have respect for others and will not have it from me either.
So really what I’m asking for is for everyone to behave themselves and plays nicely. Follow the hippy mantra of Make Love not War. There’s enough out there for everyone and you don’t need to kill a competitor just for kicks. If you come into a meeting room with me to do your tropical bird dance then just be aware that I’m not going to buy what your selling just because it’s a pretty dance, I’ll have done my homework in advance. And how you as an individual and your represented company comes across on social media will influence my decisions.