Getting back to basics – as a vendor employee who blogs

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in data protection | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

I’ve read the Storagebod blog for as long as it’s been around. Today Martin wrote an anniversary post, and it is very good – go read it! In the post he reminisces about the good ole days of vendor blogging, from the smack-down beginnings to the over-produced, glossy blogs we see today.

I started blogging from a corporate perspective in April 2008 (although I’d been blogging on social justice topics since around 2003). I didn’t talk much about product, mostly because I knew too many roadmaps and didn’t trust myself. So I talked about the intersection of education, tech, and social collaboration. Martin is dead on – people with “social”  in their job titles are not usually the folks that write the compelling blog posts. I know for myself, getting social in my title pulled me away from the product and customers, and it’s a detour I think I’ve finally recovered from professionally.

Having said that, Martin has inspired me to write more openly about my product (AppAssure). When I first joined the Dell Software team,  one of the jobs I had was working on all of the negative attention AppAssure was getting. I noticed a couple of things.

  1. Even though there were really pissed off customers, there were more customers who just love this product.
  2. Lots of the issues I saw in support tickets were not product-related. They were environment related.

I started looking around, and basic how-to info was hard to find. Things in our industry are changing fast, if you are focused on one discipline and then told you are the one that needs to plan a backup and recovery system for all your new hardware/software – where do you start? Sure, you can find articles that are behind a lead gen registration form that seem like they are just the thing you need…but after you give your info and download the paper, you realize its written just to promote the two features the company’s product does the best. Yes, we are guilty of doing that too 🙁 .

That’s why I worked on starting a program to start sharing knowledge, tips, and info about the basics of this discipline called data protection. We’re calling it Backup.U. Greg Schulz aka @storageio is leading us through 6 topics, one monthly, via webinars and google+ hangouts. We are doing our best to make all of this product neutral. We want a place to discuss the topics, the challenges and the tactics you use to overcome those challenges.

So that’s thing one – trying to build a place where we can just talk tech, not product. At VMworld several superfans of another product mysteriously appeared in our booth, and tried to talk the tired old battle points: us vs. them. I had to tell one guy:

I’m not going to argue with you about whose backup software is best. That is LAME. I’m much more interested in why you like it so much – tell me about your environment, what your challenges were, what you think is coming up that will change that environment.

To me, it’s a much more interesting conversation when we treat each other like fellow guild members instead of acting like our competitors are the rival home state football team. Even if it is great to be a florida gator hater! 😉 (It is football season, couldn’t resist).

Having said all this – since I am the product marketing manager for AppAssure – PLEASE reach out to me if you have any questions about AppAssure, or if you have suggestions or complaints. I want to hear it all – even if you really like the product – would love to hear that too! Not promising I will be able to solve everything, but I’ll make sure your voice is heard. You can reach out here, email me [ gina _ rosenthal AT dell DOT com ], Or holler on twitter (@gminks).

So just to keep things straight, on my blog (the one you are reading right now), I’ll keep blogging about everything – women in tech, the theory of small worlds, native issues, collaboration, and learning. Also am working on a series of posts about anger – which actually sorta is related to all of those topics. But because of Martin’s nudge, I think I’ll also start writing about some of the more interesting issues with data protection here. The product related info about AppAssure will remain on the Dell Software Data Protection blog.

I still don’t get the village of Midwich reference – maybe I need to queue that movie up on Netflix…

But I’m up for this challenge as a vendor employee. Who’s with me?


4 Responses to Getting back to basics – as a vendor employee who blogs

  1. Luigi says:

    We’ll if you want to do guest series technically and not detract from norm on this site you could do some posts over at great tech blog I heard of called 😉

  2. gminks says:

    Hey I *have* heard of that site….it’s awesome! 🙂 We should def talk about how to share content. 🙂

  3. greg schulz says:

    Gr8 post and perspectives Gina, its funny how sometimes all people know how to do is throw mud balls, hype or fud, play stump the clown or my products better than yours, however sad is when they dont know the hype or fud is just that.

    Even sadder is when they play the hype or fud and product mud ball tossing using old dead hype or fud, including the vendor or product baiting games. Heres a tip, if somebody needs or wants to play the game of my product is better than yours, at least take the time to know more about what it really can or cant do so at least your fud is not dead.

    Now on the other hand, for those who want a refresh, or learn something new and revolutionary or perhaps evolutionary join the technolutionary movement with Backup.U as an example where we set the tech aside for a movement and focus on new ways to use it (both old and new tech)…

    Look forward to joining you and others on the upcoming Backup.U webinars and google+ hangouts.

    Cheers gs @storageio

  4. Kris says:

    This is a great post Gina! I love this: “To me, it’s a much more interesting conversation when we treat each other like fellow guild members instead of acting like our competitors are the rival home state football team.” And I’m proud of the way you put yourself out there as the PMM.

    It’s unfortunate there really is no community among product marketing managers. We have a hard job, trying to position our products in the best light against formidable competitors but also with integrity. When I worked at Sun, in medieval times, there was a failed effort to try to establish community among PMMs within our own company. There’s certainly not community across companies, especially when we compete. Maybe you and I can start…if we ever find ourselves in the same city at the same time!

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