I used to work for someone who once said, "if you aren't generating controversy, you probably aren't saying anything worthwhile". I was almost fired from Andersen when I jointly penned this column with my now husband, Jason Busch. My boss at the time took the heat and argued with the head of a $50m practice (who wanted me fired) that sometimes people need to say what others don't want to hear. At the time I co-wrote the article, marketplaces and exchanges were proving as popular as tulips in 17th century Holland. But we weren't all buying the bulbs, so to speak. Even though many at my firm were getting rich selling millions of dollars of technology strategy, integration and implementation deals, Jason and I called like we saw it in the now defunct The Industry Standard and said the things would crash and burn. And they ultimately did.
To this date, I continue to believe that controversy -- when warranted -- is a good thing. You should never be afraid to speak your mind, just as Jason does on this blog. As the co-lead editor and author of Spend Matters affiliate blog, MetalMiner, I've witnessed controversy continue to follow me. And as Contributing Editor to Spend Matters, I've watched controversy follow my husband. (though I like to think I help temper the rhetoric and challenge the logic). But there are some arguments and debates that I can't resist getting into myself.
Last week, my business partner and I got into a heated email and comment exchange with two executives from Nucor -- we didn't post one of the emails from the CEO -- who strongly disagreed with our position that advocated policies that are popular with consumers of metal but unpopular with producers. To me, this entire incident, which I would encourage you to read about via this link, represents everything that new media has to offer -- two way dialog and debate, potentially fewer hidden agendas. We try not to hide behind the "objective guise" of trade publications, if you can call them objective. Rather, bloggers with deep domain knowledge representing other constituents, in our case metals buyers and traders, are getting into the debate without taking what the producers say as gospel.
It's a brave new world. And hopefully it will spark some new debate and awareness.