Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Smarm at work

People have been asking me exactly what I mean by smarm.

Dictionary.Com has:

unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech; "buttery praise"; "gave him a fulsome introduction"; "an oily sycophantic press agent"; "oleaginous hypocrisy"; "smarmy self-importance"; "the unctuous Uriah Heep"; "soapy compliments"
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Here's an example of how insidious smarm can become in the blog-hands of a corporate marketing department:

In my role as chief OSG cynic, let me point out the obvious. Despite what it says or writes to the contrary, tiering is bad for the storaborg. Tiering reduces the amount of data stored on expensive disk. Tiering helps reduce the cost of keeping up with storage growth. Tiering lets competitors in the door. Tiering slows the encroachment of storage related expenses into the overall IT budget - which is now hovering around 24%. Tiering is bad for the storaborg. Period.

Ah, but you can't just take out an advertisement and say 'tiering is baaaad, don't do it', can you? See, tiering is exciting to customers. Tiering is technically good for customers. If we say it's bad, we look...ah...bad. hmmm....what to do?

Ha! I got it boss! (says bushy tailed storaborg marketing manager) Yuck Shamelis unctuously declares that tiering is good in our corpoblog! You must tier! The benefits are huge! Hell...he's been telling people for years..!

But...but...and here, boss, is where we are really clever...we (snicker)...we have Yuck make it seem hard...see? Complicated. Requires storage guys to talk to multiple layers of business users to evaluate the value of everyone's data. (those poor little storage guys hate to talk to business guys, boss)

I know...we..I mean Yuck.. can call tiering the Aztec Calendar of Storage! Nothing's more complicated than the Azetec Calendar! Sure on the surface it sounds good - get the users and storage guys talking - but all the storage guys will see is Months, maybe Years of work. Millions and Millions!

Yee hee - this is brilliant! Who can argue with us?

Wait! Even better...we (I mean he) makes it sound like the customers are telling Yuck that THEY think implementing tiering needs to be complicated - he'll just be reporting what they are telling him. Brilliant! Can't argue with the customer, after all... heh heh...

Then, sorry, he...bamboozles them by listing a bunch of complicated expensive products they'll need to buy (from us) to get started...and put a fork in her, she's done! It'll scare the bejeesus right out of 'em!

Hey, if we get enough people to beleive it's will become true. I bet we can hold off the onslaught of tiering at least a couple more years before people catch on...

Ah...catch on to what, boss? the fact that tiering doesn't have to be complicated, the fact that business users don't even have to know it's going on, that fact that it can be implemented in minutes by the poor little storage know, boss...the...ah...truth...boss.

Boss? boss? you ok? Boss...?

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