Re: Slashdotted

Subject: Re: Slashdotted
From: Kelley <kelley -at- inkworkswell -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 18:41:11 -0500

At 05:41 PM 3/1/2005, Bruce Byfield wrote:

It's disconcerting to be working under new rules, although I suppose I should have expected them.

Link! Link! Link! (too lazy to go look myself.) Congratulations!

I worked for a guy who was a big name in the infosec business. He was loved by half the security community, reviled by the other half. By the time I worked for him, he'd developed what appeared to be a remarkably thick skin. He'd taken to heart the marketer's principle that _any_ publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right.

It's hard to abide by that if you pride yourself on accuracy and/or if you identify with the community to whom you're writing. It's also hard to abide by it in the midst of a negative publicity crisis -- as I often observed when chaos broke loose.

From my observations, he broke free of that because he had a drive for financial success at any cost. I'm not sure you're that far gone Bruce. :)

The other thing is probably something you're already familiar with: the academic ideal of criticism, where knowledge is understood as a collective, if agonistic, enterprise. Where criticism is meant to advance knowledge, not tear it (or individuals) down. (AS I said, it's an _ideal_. :) I've had the good fortune to know marvelous role models who graciously accepted really harsh criticisms. I suspect it's a lot easier to do when you are not running "You & company" and when you have tenure. heh.

At any rate, what I also observed was that my former boss had learned to divorce his sense of self from what he wrote. Academics do it by recognizing that knowledge is collective,that they need criticism in order to produce knowledge.

Completely divorcing your sense of self from your writing doesn't doesn't always work to good effect (e.g., hacks), so what I mean is being able to maintain but.... From reading you over the years, it's clear that you probably know all this. But, I thought it might help to remind you of what you already know, as you imagine pyrannas circling. :)

Remember: Any publicity is good publicity. Any publicity is good publicity. repeat after me. :)

Incidentally, I think Microsoft must take this principle to heart too. The name of their latest research project is 'Singularity.' They explain what they mean by pointing at this:

Now, if that name alone, and the reference to boot, is NOT ripe for all kinds of jokes, I don't know what is.


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