Saturday, May 15, 2010

Everyone's Picking On Me!

So, as may be clear from the blog, only a few months ago, I worked at MiniCorp. And it went under, and I sold it, and now I work for MegaCorp. MegaCorp is smaller than MegaloCorp, where I worked in a past life, but it definitely is an organization listed on a stock exchange with multiple locations and an internal org chart tool on the intranet. MiniCorp had a snack bucket. That's pretty much the definition of the spread between them.

When I worked at MiniCorp, we used to watch the behaviors of MegaCorp and try to determine what they were doing competitively. They were also partners. Goodness knows that's the way of the world these days in software. But I watched them like a hawk, analyzed every word of every press release, etc. And not just MegaCorp but a handful of other equally large and loquacious corporate entities. 

What was my/our inevitable conclusion?  They were all out to get us. They were all copying our messaging and our functionality. They were all looking to TAKE US DOWN.

MiniCorp went out of business in part because no one found us compelling enough to buy. That's how MiniCorps are. But, one has to wonder if we were such a target, why no one thought to toss some chump change to just acquire us... I'm just asking... 

Now that I'm on the inside of MegaCorp, I can tell you - THEY were not out to get us. They always knew what they had to do. I'm pretty sure no one - certainly not 10 people or the whole company or the CTO read our press releases and I bet no one visited our web site. No one signed up for a webinar. No one ever knew we blocked them from downloading our whitepaper. MegaCorp competes with MegaCorp2, MegaCorp3 and MegaCorp4. MiniCorp couldn't have been more irrelevant. I believe I heard someone refer to MY particular MiniCorp as a "shitty little company." (in his/her defense, he/she didn't know I could hear him/her)

There was one single solitary secondary irrelevant piece of functionality that MegaCorp cared about of ours. It didn't care so much as... remain befuddled by the point of it. But it got stuck in their craw. And I'll tell you what - we pulled that out of the next product.  THAT is IT.

No one copied our marketing. No one stole our words. Shoot, in our industry? Lower Cost. Configuration. Control. This would be like accusing Wendy's of copying McD's "tastes great!" messaging. This is basic stuff. And we, MiniCorp, acted like an angsty teenager who is completely utterly certain that the entire free world has been expressly designed to make her life hell. 

So, now I'm on the other side of the table. It's hilarious to see things from a different light. And you know what we talk about in meetings?  You guessed it.... Everyone's picking on us! 


PD said...

This brings back so many memories for me of my own experience with the MiniCorp / MegaCorp transition. At MiniCorp we definitely thought everyone was out to get us and actively trying to take us down. We used to say things like "why do they hate us" and pontificate that our other MiniCorp competitors had spies in our office. And then I got to MegaCorp. And EVERYONE in that part of the business knew who we were and they all said two things. 1st, that our MiniCorp CEO and his team gave vague presentations about nothing. Note that internal to MiniCorp, our CEO told us that was a key plank of customer presentations. It turns out what we spewed was viewed as the air that was breathed at MegaCorp, so it showed no value whatsoever. 2nd, many people at MegaCorp were surprised that MiniCorp was on up for sale and would have actively considered buying us. But our MiniCorp CEO never thought to call them.

I sort of feel like this is the NYC vs. Chicago or NYC vs. Boston debate. People in Chicago and Boston spend a whole lotta time worried about being cool. No one in NYC spends a jot of time worried about Chicago or Boston.

Or Iran. They have sort of a mis-understood view of the world, where they believe they are in fact, the center of the universe. It's of course true they do have a glorious civilization. But they interpret every action by the US as some direct consequence to them. And the truth is, the US doesn't think of Iran quite so carefully as we do of them.

I guess all it shows is the magnitude of communication warps that can occur in relationships of unequal power.

PD said...

p.s. I think by labeling your mini corp a shitty little company, that was definitely an acknowledgement on the part of your new megacorp that they were in fact, feeling threatened in some way by minicorp. it's an odd thing to go off on a tirade about.