Just How Long Will It Take For Me To Be Like You?

I was reading some of my favorite blogs this week and I have to tell you some of them kill me. The “tricks” they use to sell you on their technology are astonishing. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

The “Self-referential Complement”:

“In speaking with customers about our industry leading Flim-Flam Mark V, many of them just don’t get it. A prospect asks: “How could anyone use such a powerful and sophisticated mind-blowing machine?”

This reminds me of Will Ferell, reading the “Worlds Best Cup of Coffee” sign on the front of some shitty diner, running in and jubilantly yelling “You did it!! Congratulations, you actually make the world’s best cup of coffee. Congratulations everybody!”

The “Hangin’ with the smart people” Trick

“Recently, in helping out the US Government to get its head into the Clouds we outlined our thoughts on how the Cloud builds rich and powerful nations out of ones more like Klopstokia in “Million Dollar Legs.” So we stepped back a moment and thought, “Hey, shouldn’t we be helping emerging nations too? After all, if we can help the US Government, can’t we throw a bone to Klopstokia?”

The answer of course is yes, we can. And by inference, we might be able to squeeze you into our jammed schedule too, if you are smart enough to hang with the cool people.

The ol’ Reflected Glory trick:

“Of course we have that feature, the guy who wrote it actually wrote the same one for Oracle!”

Well I must be friggin’ royalty then because the guy who changed the tire on my pickup truck also changed the tire on Prince Edward’s Rolls.

The “I’m clueless and think I invented everything” trick

“You see, in our system, we actually split the data into chunks and write them everywhere in parallel.”

Wow, you clever bastard, while everyone else employs single threaded operations you actually parallel them up! Now that is unique. This is analogous to Chris Rock’s infamous story some refer to as “What do you want, a cookie?” Paraphrasing his rant, we could say “Well you are supposed to parallel things up you dumb low-expectation completely unaware #&^%$ @&^*&*.

The “I’m an Insider and You’re not, but I’ll give you a hint” trick

“The technologies we’re cooking up are so powerful that we are fighting to keep them in the commercial realm. Certain black ops agencies are clamoring to keep them secret. Of course, I can’t reveal them here, but suffice it to say that most of what we are working on will appear on the showroom floor soon. You certainly don’t want to miss this opportunity by investing in yesterday’s paradigm.”

Yup. I am sure that your competition will be laid to waste by the things you have invented, but in the meantime you will keep purchasing companies right and left just to mess with your competitors’ heads.

The “Visionary” trick

“What you’ll see is people using SSD to speed up systems. And virtualization. And dynamic auto-tiering. And SAS because it’s better than FC. And Cloud-based IT.”

Wow, will that really happen? How far out on the limb can you get? If you are going to start making prognoses on things, shouldn’t you be a bit more conservative? Personally, I predict a shift away from vacuum tubes and relays toward transistors and IC’s. I also smell a world wide financial meltdown with over-leveraged assets collapsing and causing a real mess for everyone, especially the guy who paid a million bucks for the 3 bedroom fixer-upper in Searchlight, Nevada.

Reality

Oh well, at least most of these blogs are fun. Well, sometimes they are. And occasionally an insight is shared. Most of us don’t have too many original thoughts anyway, just things we tune up a bit using our own experience and such. What I do like to read in these blogs is clear thinking – people who are able to frame a problem in a way that makes the answer, or at least the alternatives, clear.

The truth is you just have to sort through people’s blogs to find the interesting perspectives and insights. If you can filter out the host of tricks used to self-aggrandize and disguise assertions as facts or impute credibility for the author with high-level mystery, you can learn a lot.

My suggestion to my friends is, read more than one point of view, and when you do some of the fog will dissipate. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Mike Workman is Chairman & CEO of Pillar Data Systems. Mike has spent his career breaking new technical ground in the storage industry. In his 25+ years in the storage business, Mike's appointments have included vice president of worldwide development for IBM's storage technology division, senior vice president and CTO of Conner Peripherals, and vice president of OEM storage subsystems for IBM. He has a PhD and Masters from Stanford, a Bachelors degree from Berkeley and holds over fifteen technology patents.