In my Lotusphere summary last week, I discussed a challenge around my identity as a sales manager versus being a blogger.  Charles Robinson and others suggested a path forward, saying that if I blog more about the day-to-day kind of activities I work on, it might help create a more complete picture of the "day job".  One problem with that is that I can't typically discuss specific customer situations on the blog.  Today, I'm irritated enough with one, though, that I'm going to try to anonymize it in a way that exactly one blog reader will know where the story came from, a few more may recognize the players, and the rest of you will see another data point in why competing with Microsoft is a constant disappointment.

The sequence goes like this:
I was contacted by a customer ("A") from within one of the larger organizations using Notes/Domino.  It seems that this customer's Microsoft reps had passed along some news to them -- the CIO of another large Lotus customer ("B") had stepped down, and part of the reason was, supposedly, the CIO's inability to implement the Lotus-based solutions that their organization had standardized on a year ago.  Did I have any information about the situation at "B"?

I checked with a few people to find out the scoop.  All the information came back with a very positive story -- customer "B" has rolled out the latest Lotus software, has another phase of the project getting ready to go live soon, and sent a whole bunch of people to Lotusphere.  As for the CIO "stepping down", it was a planned retirement, and the interim CIO is one of the executives behind the Lotus software implementation.  

Happily, I provided all of this back to customer "A".  Not only had I provided ample information to completely discredit the story, I got a positive update on customer "B" in the process.  The sad part is, what if my contact at customer "A" hadn't asked?  How many other organizations heard the same helpful "rumor" today and didn't think to fact-check it?  And is this kind of innuendo what competition should be about?

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