Friday Rant: Don't Put Much Stock in Stock Awards, Dave …

It's always nice to get an award. I remember this from fourth grade when I attended a small primary school. I was the only kid (out of a class of eighteen) who did not earn a "spirit" award for sportsmanship on track and field day. However, I was also the only one who earned three gold medals for actually winning (which was small consolation, I might add, for being excluded from the sportsmanship medal). Even though I still feel shafted for not getting that spirit award -- I never got the pre-race memo that throwing elbows in the quarter mile run on the blind curve was not allowed, as a defensive tactic, of course -- I've generally learned to get over not getting recognized for things when it comes time to hand out trophies and medals (especially the kind that people want to charge you hundreds of thousands of dollars for, directly or indirectly). But some people still like to play the game year after year.

Consider a recent post by David Bush over on E-Sourcing Forum that points out their recent SDCEXEC provider award, noting "Iasta made the list again this year, which [it has] for every year since 2004". But this is not the crux of Dave's observation. To Dave, what is "more interesting to me this year, than us being on the list, was who was not on the list: Ariba". Dave then goes on to quote Supply and Demand Chain Executive's inclusion criteria suggesting that "Supply & Demand Chain Executive has identified leading providers of supply chain services and technologies who are helping their customers and clients both respond to the downturn and, more importantly, position themselves for growth ahead". What's the exact inclusion criteria? "Based on submissions to the '100' from end users and solution providers, the judging committee for the '100,' including the editorial staff of the magazine, in conjunction with the editorial advisory board, has compiled a list of leading supply and demand chain innovators," the guidelines suggest.

So why wasn't Ariba included (reading under the surface here, of course). Because they did not submit an entry, most likely! It's that simple. I won't get into the intellectual obligation of those presenting awards to consider the full landscape of possible candidates -- whether they nominate themselves or not -- but there's really nothing more to it than that. More important, does anyone really care about these sorts of awards anymore, besides making fodder for press releases and resumes? Does anyone pay attention anymore? I know I once did, but I've since wised up. But more important, I have no doubt that the great majority of practitioners selecting solutions providers could care less these days about such things. Maybe I'm just permanently scared for not getting that spirit award, but at the end of the day, I think the amount of energy we all waste on these things could be better spent elsewhere.

Sorry, Dave, for not granting you your two minutes of fame or your "furrowed brow and stink eye combo that is generally reserved for my 2 yr old demanding a gummy worm exclusive dinner menu". It's just that I don't think there's much to this and I can't believe people still care about these things (perhaps Ariba does not for a reason). BTW, if anyone has an idea for how Spend Matters can make a few bucks or drive traffic off of issuing similar awards (heck, why limit ourselves to 100 -- we should do 1000!), I'm all ears. I've thought of the anti-awards for spend dumbness, but I'm not sure if I want to go there ...

Jason Busch

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