How many times have we all heard someone ranting about something and they always state their view in terms of “them” and “they”. As in: “They suck”, “Their stuff is crap”, “They’re a bunch of idiots” and so on. This holds true for inanimate objects as well. Things like “It sucks”, “It doesn’t do____”, “It can do ___ and ___” and whatever.
The real distraction here is that in all of these situations, it’s really talking about a person or a group of specific people. SPECIFIC PEOPLE. Not some faceless cloud of gas erupting in the solar system. Not some steam vent from within the Earth. It’s people. People are always at the root of these things.
Whether you’re talking about a company, or a product, it’s really talking about specific people.
Most of us are too lazy to chase that rat hole and give up some names. It’s human nature. It’s easier to point at something we barely understand and scoff at it. Make jokes and laugh oafishly like some retarded Baby Huey character after a case of cheap beer.
Here’s a tactic: I always politely challenge the person to cough up a name. It trips them up so badly they can’t focus on anything and begin to sweat and stutter. I’m hoping to see someone go into convulsions and maybe even vomit profusely on the person next to them (not me of course). Man. Talk about entertainment value.
When someone says company “X” sucks, I ask them to cite specific examples. Then for each example, I ask them who in that company is responsible for that product or issue. It helps to remind them that not all 100,000 employees of company “X” work on that one feature of that one product. Occassionally they believe that. Sometimes.
The fact is, when you discuss an issue about a company, it relates directly to the people who work on that particular issue. A software application, for example. That group of people are managed by someone. That “someone” is in charge of setting priorities and agendas and they in-turn work with another manager who handles the marketing direction, and so on. A little digging can turn up names. People like Ray Ozzie at Microsoft, or someone in particular at Google, Autodesk, Symantec, EMC, or Apple. If nothing else, you can gleen a picture of upper management from public financial statements (believe it or not).
Essentially, this gives us no reason to generically lambaste a company, when instead we should be lambasting a particular individual. Even if the decision to ruin a good product, or go in a dumb direction seems to come from a “division”, it’s the division manager who is to blame. Shit rolls uphill in the corporate blame game. It rolls downhill in the delegation game. That’s all I have to say about this.