Friday Rant — Thoughts, Language and Burning the Candle at Both Ends

It's been a crazy week. Let me rephrase that -- it's been a crazy fall and an even crazier year. From attempting to crank up the volume on Spend Matters to the proverbial "11" to diving into other interesting opportunities left and right with other media outlets, vendors, consultancies and practitioners, I've found downtime and even sleep to be at a premium. But I'm having fun, and if you can't say that about what you do -- a situation I found myself in at the end of my last real job -- I can assure you that you won't find the rest of your life as rewarding as it can be. Still, despite the relative emotional highs that being so busy bring, there have been a few times when I've wished I had just a few more minutes in the day to wordsmith and think through what I want to say on Spend Matters vs. how things sometimes come across.

Let me give you an example. Earlier this week, a long-time reader contacted me and mentioned she took issue with the way that, in her opinion, I dismissed a number of eProcurement providers as nothing more than "back-ups" to Ariba when it comes to alternative SAP SRM strategies (there's also a comment on the blog from another reader in this regard as well). This was never my intent. Here's my original language in one of the passages from the column: "Just be sure to also invite Perfect, Ketera and Coupa (not to mention Hubwoo, IBX and potentially others) to the table, both to get the best deal out of Ariba and to make sure that Ariba is in fact the right choice (you might find you like another provider, more)." That last parenthetical statement, "you might find you like another provider, more," is key to my entire argument, at least as I read the original passage when I constructed it.

But that was not how others read it. They interpreted my word choice -- and most likely word placement -- as supporting the premise that all the other providers are just Ariba back-ups and column fodder which, again, is not what I intended. So perhaps I should not have made it a parenthetical statement but rather should have framed the argument around the issue from the start. Alas, I failed to do this originally, having rushed the writing of the piece because of a number of deadlines I was under. However, that's no excuse given how well read Spend Matters is and how more and more organizations are taking the words on these virtual pages under consideration in their own decision process.

For this -- and other similar blunders -- I apologize. There was also another incident in recent weeks based on something I said that managed to cause some aggravation for some folks that had nothing to do with the core content of what I was trying to say. Both of these incidents have served as wake-up calls for me to think through more of the impact not only of individual words, but of word placement and sentence construction as well. It's ironic this is the case as my six year old is now starting to learn about just such structure in school as it turns out, but that I've not given much conscious thought to for years (I have subconsciously, of course, but when producing as much volume as I do, it's easy to miss unintended translations from thought to sentences on the screen or paper).

So, dear readers, please keep me honest. I might -- and probably will -- continue to end up offending more people on the vendor side (sponsors and non-sponsors alike) with what I say based on the fact that there's few truly independent voices out there and someone needs to carry the torch. But if something I write is ultimately misinterpreted or taken out of context, that's something I feel very responsible for. And I now know it's something I need to address. So thanks everyone, for keeping me honest and causing me to take more time to think through what I have to say. As always, if you don't feel comfortable posting a comment or would rather keep things private, please feel free to drop me a line: jbusch (at) spendmatters (dot) com.

Jason Busch

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