Rant

What’s Your Suck Level?

In a recent Pluralsight “IT Ops News & Talk” podcast, I talked a bit about quantifying your level of suck.

That sounds horrible.

Here’s what I said, and why:

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Thanks for the Spam

If I directed you to this page, then it’s because you recently sent Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE), or “spam,” to one of my e-mail addresses. You need take no action; I’ve already reported your activity to your mailing list provider, and they’ll deal with you according to their abuse policies.

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Oh, Noze, Now I Know A Product Exists! Augh! Take The Knowledge AWAAAY!

So, just got done doing a webinar on AD group management. I thought it went well – a lot of organizations spend WAY too much on group management, and it isn’t really a technical problem as much as it is the right people in the org not having the right UI. Anyway, spent about 40 minutes talking about the things we see companies dealing with, and some of what we’ve seen people try, and what worked, and what didn’t.

I kind of wrapped with a list of 5 main capabilities we see companies needing, like getting a UI in place that lets actual data owners manage the groups that provide access to their data. We also talked a bit how it’s mostly political problems that keep group management from being better.

The webinar was sponsored by a vendor, of course, but they didn’t even show up to do a product demo or sales pitch. They wanted it to be a legit discussion on the problem, and what my company sees companies dealing with. At the end, they do get mentioned as a sponsor. I said something to the effect of, “look, the solution here is basically better distributed, delegated user interfaces, and that doesn’t come with the OS. You have to either build or buy. If buying is an option, look at this sponsor’s web site. They’re a good place to start – this is an area they work in. There are others, and you should do some research.”

One attendee drops a comment in the Q&A queue: “I was not told we would have a product shoved down our throat. Do not contact me.”

Sheesh. First of all, sweet pea, if I’m gonna shove anything, you’ll know it. But seriously, this attitude just vexes me. We spend 40 minutes talking about legit problems, talking about what companies often try, and what happens. We talk about the real money involved – how much it costs to continue dealing with these problems. We talk honestly about the problem being partially political, and some ways to start addressing that. Then in the last 120 seconds, I introduce a sponsor and say that they have a product you should include in your other considerations as you look for solutions. And that’s shoving?

It’s this don’t-market-to-me-at-any-cost attitude I just don’t get. This wasn’t a bait and switch presentation by any stretch; there’s just certain people who think they’ve somehow been personally violated if they’re presented with any kind of knowledge of vendors or commercial activities. Like, knowing that a vendor and a product exists has somehow weighed down your brain and made you less able to function in the world. I mean heck, this wasn’t even the usual webinar, which is mainly just designed to get you online to watch a product demo. I try to not even do those.

like knowing about different solutions. I love it when folks tell me about tools they’re using in their organization, and what they think of them. I’m seriously trying to put together a vendors-not-allowed site where IT folks can share information on their tools, and honest opinions on them – I think it’d be great for research.

But getting PO’d because you had to “endure” the knowledge that a vendor exists? Man. That’s an uptight life. I wonder if that person can even watch network TV. I mean, I skip commercials on my DVR, but I know that the commercials exist. What a terrible knowledge to have to live with.

OK, back to Summit planning.