Thoughts on Rants, and an Invitation to Participate

I've come to like this Friday Rant thing at Spend Matters. It gives me time to explore issues in more detail -- and with more opinion -- than I'm used to in the usual format. The other thing it allows, of course, is the ability to express a strong opinion without sugarcoating it, as opposed to putting an idea through the type of editorial -- and often peer-review -- process that can so often overcook an item into a tasteless stew. All too often this type of thinking and published research still dominates much of the scripted analysis in the enterprise arena. In contrast, rants -- mine, or anyone else's -- are raw; this may not always be a good thing, but I believe that in most cases, an initial gut reaction often proves correct, even upon further analysis.

Moreover, a rant of any sort can make a reader or listener think. The more one's writing expresses an opinion, the more likely it is to engender introspection and response from readers (not necessarily in print, but on a cerebral level). It also brings me back to my old high-school and college baseball days (JV, mind you) when I'd occasionally get lucky and hit a ball out of the park. Back then, I soon came to realize that the more quickly a pitcher throws a ball at you, the more momentum you can generate sending it in the opposite direction. (That is, unless it goes flying past you; one of the downsides, of course, in coming up against someone with heat).

All of this brings me to my next point: rants work because people crave opinions; yet, ironically, so few organizations and individuals end-up having opinions they feel worthy of sharing in unsanitized formats. Part of this, I believe, stems from a lack of suitable outlets. Before I wrote Spend Matters, I was searching for such an outlet, one where I could put opinion first. To get things off my chest, I ended up writing a weekly email update that I'd send around to the management team at my last employer, FreeMarkets (hmmm … maybe this is the reason they were my last employer...).

The focus of these missives was on sharing the news, and expressing an opinion about it -- often drily, with a good degree of sarcasm tossed in for good measure. People (including our externally humorless CFO) loved it, not only because it would bring a smile to their face, but also because it both informed and made everyone think. These were truly rants in their best possible form. On a personal level, the process of constructing these rants forced a rigor and discipline that helped my overall thinking on the topics. Not only did the messages inform others and, hopefully, play a role in shaping opinion; the process of writing them helped crystallize my own thoughts, helping me become more expert on a given topic and therefore more confident about speaking on it with authority.

If you've got something on your mind that you'd like to rant about and share with thousands of readers on Spend Matters, drop me a line. I'd welcome the chance to hear what you have to say. Even if you end up taking the plunge only once or twice, I have no doubt that you'll be the better for it. And heck, you might even find that you find this ranting thing addictive. I know I do. Got something on your chest? Get it off. And get in touch: jbusch (at) spendmatters (dot) com.

Jason Busch

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