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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Pushback on my Blog Posts
By Paul Tomori
Saturday, July 04, 2009 at 00:42:22 (EDT)

Well, I haven't yet added reader comments to this blog... not because I don't welcome them... rather, it is just a matter of not having time to set things up right. Ok, so I am not using Wordpress. I just don't like off-the-shelf software when I know I am going to want to customize things myself anyway. And, since I am in the code-writing business, I have a double incentive to just write my own blog software.

So, pushback on my blog ramblings comes by way of emails and casual conversation with people who have read and disagree with something I have written here.

I have gotten feedback on 3 of my most recent blogs. Here's the pushback:

1. Michael Jackson was a pedophile who took advantage of young boys and thus deserved his fate.

2. Comparing with locals in your competitive stance is actually necessary.

3. Re-inventing oneself is painful and does not always yield very good resuls.

And here's what I have to say.

1. Michael Jackson was acquitted by people who got to hear all the facts. Could he still have been guilty? Of course. So could O.J. Simpson too. But, we have a legal process and need to respect the result at least in most cases. Also, MJ was an easy target and such an oddball in so many other ways... it's easy to just bring a prejudice against him that concludes him to be guilty just based on his weirdness. That's too bad. Because, it's quite possible he's innocent. Either way, he's dead and out of consideration to his children, his acquittal should be respected. And, either way, it doesn't change the fact he was an amazing artist.

2. What I said about one's approach to the competition is accurate, I am sure. I don't mean a company should be oblivious to the local competitors. And, I don't mean that you should compete with nationals or internationals instead. And, I don't mean that you should seek business outside your locale (depending on what you sell of course!). What I meant was, don't hold business up to comparisons with the local guys. Doing so is just too limiting. Similarly, I don't believe in contests. For example, battles of the bands and etc... As soon as you enter a contest like that, you label yourself an amateur. Why not just launch your product or service for real to the public and let them decide if your offering is worthy of their purchase. That's the court of consumer opinion... and ultimately, that's the one that matters if you are providing a commercial offering. For me, we seek only to establish a local base, to erode our competitors' market share by providing superior service and product, and to then protect that base through perpetual innovation. We don't look too far outside our locale to establish the base, but we look far and wide to hold ourselves up to comparison to larger, richer entities.

3. We recently re-invented our menu system in one of our products admin screens. It was major. The improvement is unquestionable. Yet, we are getting some feedback from people saying they like the old system better. It's hard to hear. We point out all the deficiencies of the old system... they seem SO obvious to us. We point out how the new way really is an improvement and not just evolution for evolution's sake. Yet, some people just don't like change... even if the change is for the better. It's very important to not let such people dictate your agenda. You MUST evolve. You must exercise judgement calls as to what constitutes 'better' and you must weigh in user feedback only insofar as such feedback is not born out someone else's resistance to change. Re-invention brought us almost every modern convenience... and while I am sure some people thought the introduction of the automobile was an unnecessary evolution away from horse and buggy, I sure am glad that the resisters didn't prevail.

Happy July 4th to our American friends!

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