Friday Rant: Knowing When to Cross the Line

Those who know me well regard me as one who, under most circumstances, is quite introspective and weighs controversial thoughts before necessarily publishing them or taking a side. But when I do take a side, it's usually quite strong. One recent situation which readers will remember is a case in point. I debated for quite some time -- and even circulated my ideas amongst a number of confidants -- prior to publishing my perspective. I knew from the responses that came back from my trial balloons that some folks didn't approve of my singling out a single individual as the subject of my critique. I weighed this issue for a few days before deciding to finalize and publish the drafts I had sitting on my desktop.

I decided to push forward in sharing an opinion, or perspective in this particular case, for the same reason I've done this before (e.g., negative commentary on vendors, executives, etc.) because I continue to feel that most people are unable and unwilling to stand up for a perspective that needs to be heard. Sometimes this involves crossing a line that I know will cause people to question my intentions and motivations or challenge my character. I've learned that this comes with the territory. But regarding the matter of critiquing individuals in this process, I am -- and will remain -- wide open to reciprocity without a double standard. If I were to espouse the ideas and practices that I call out, I would expect to be similarly challenged. Put another way, I practice the Ethic of Reciprocity -- aka The Golden Rule -- which essentially states that we are to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves (which interestingly may be found in 21 world religions).

I am so very tired of seeing things that go unmentioned, along with claims and supposed facts that go undisputed. I think it's the role of any good columnist, blogger or analyst to challenge the status quo and in doing so, be somewhat unpredictable. When there's not a party line -- and you're willing to stay open and shape opinions as you go based on what you see -- and you're not representing a larger brand, there's a tremendous amount of flexibility and risk in calling things as you see them.

If I were to guess, you'll probably continue to witness my periodic outbursts about the practices of certain firms and perhaps more, vendors, because I think people put way too much stock in brands. And I'm sure when I cross the line again over what some consider to be civilized behavior, you'll see additional criticism tossed back in my direction -- some warranted, some not. But ask yourself: aren't you better for at least reading an opinion that wasn't doctrinaire, and furthermore, had the opportunity to comment on it?

- Jason Busch

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