Friday, February 25, 2011

Value Is Overrated - Guest Blog by Boris Alltotears

I've known Boris for years.  He's worked at many of the same companies as I have as well as competitors over the years.  You'll recognize some of his early work in marketing as the inventor of the phrase, "quickly and easily."  We drifted apart as I've turned my focus to eliminating MABUSHI and talking about who cares and why.  I've been busy with my day job so I've asked him to sit in for me and give his impressions of the quality of marketing he observed at the recent RSA security conference in San Francisco.  Take it away, Boris.

Thanks, Tim, for the opportunity to appear and to finally give voice to my disagreement with your views.  You focus too much on value (whatever that is?) and not enough on creating energy and excitement around cool new features.  In my more than 20 years in the business it's been features, features, features and features still reign today as what gets my blood pumping.  Without features, what would we talk about?

Features are what's cool.  If you want proof, just spend 30 minutes walking the show floor at RSA.  It was envigorating to be amongst all those leading providers of security stuff.  The leading provider of SIEM was next to the leading provider of network security.  Right across the aisle was the leading provider of web security next to the leading provider of comprehensive on-demand threat management and vulnerability assessment solutions.  Then there was the leading provider of unique and powerful solutions for IT audit and security.  Next to them was another leading provider of SIEM and behind them was the cool booth for the other leading provider of web security.  Not really sure what any of it meant but it all sounded SO COOL and they had nifty giveaways. 

RSA must be the premier security show to be able to attract all those leading providers of stuff.  And this has got to be the greatest industry in the world to be able to have more than one leading provider for each of those security categories.

And everywhere you looked there were next generation security, um, stuff.  I mean, if it's not next generation, who wants to know?  No one wants to secure their business with current generation or, God forbid, last generation technology.  Buyers want to know they've got the latest and greatest, coolest features.  If that weren't true, how come so many vendors there plastered their booths with these phrases?  Right?  CIOs must love buying next generation products for everyone to be saying they are next generation.

To keep all the leading providers and next generation stuff straight, I had to take home all their brochures just to figure out exactly what they did and if I should care.  And like a good citizen I duly recycled all 37 pounds of data sheets I collected.  Don't want that stuff cluttering up my office, you know.  I did get some fun giveaways for your boys, though.  I hope they liked them, especially that bouncing cup thingy that I got from the leading provider of integrated user authentication and verification solution suites - or maybe it was from the world's leading provider of network access control (NAC) and policy compliance solutions.

No, Tim, this value stuff you keep touting is boring and overrated.  As the president of the enterprise sales division of a leading provider of search and online advertising said at their sales kick-off a few years back, "Don't bother with that solution selling crap.  We've got great products. Go out and sell great products." 

Uh, thanks Boris for that wonderful insight.  I might ask you to come back soon to give us your, um, views on other topics.

Next up: Where did those 4 $%#^#%# About Us slides at the beginning of everyone's decks come from?

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