Mark Twomey claims I called him a shill, and uses that as the “hook” for a post about believing in your peers and your company. Unfortunately for him, if you look at what I actually said, I didn’t quite call him a shill after all. What I said was that, if one were to apply the same standard to him and to the NetApp employees he was writing about, then either they’re all shills or none are. If NetApp employees writing blog posts presages a marketing push, then EMC employees writing blog posts does too. He will surely deny any connection yet again, but you can be sure he’d be getting some heat from management if his posts weren’t completely in line with what they wanted to see in the blogosphere. I was a blogger at EMC long before he was (Steve Todd can back me up on that), so I know more than a little about how that works. He might not receive copy from EMC marketing but, whether he knows/admits it or not, what he writes is subject to their review.

As for being a believer, that’s great. I’m a believer in what my company does too, as I was at Revivio and as I (mostly) was at EMC. Being a believer doesn’t have to mean losing your objectivity, though. Sometimes good ideas do come from other places, as Mark should be well aware. After all, he has bragged about selling lots of a technology that his employer ignored and dismissed until a bunch of little guys threatened to eat their lunch. He even linked somewhat approvingly to my account of what happened at one of those little guys. Let’s reframe that last bit a little: I was an OK guy when what I was saying suited his and EMC’s agenda, and now I’m not. Hmmm. At least I admit that sometimes people outside of SiCortex have good ideas too, and that sometimes people inside SiCortex sometimes have bad ones. I’m a little wary of going into too much detail about the latter – see what I said above about marketing keeping an eye on what bloggers say – but I’m not afraid to mention it. I still think we have a higher ratio of good ideas to bad ones than our competitors do, of course, but I feel that giving credit where credit is due is the right thing to do and also makes whatever else I say that much more credible. Nobody believes someone whose view of the world is unrealistically skewed toward one vendor’s view of the world – whether it’s EMC’s or Cisco’s.

I tried to explain all this in a comment on Mark’s blog, but apparently he had no way to answer any of it so he rejected it in moderation instead. That’s as good an indication as anyone should need of who’s on the up-and-up here and who’s being a little disingenuous.

UPDATE: Mark claims that he just hadn’t got around to checking his moderation queue. I’m still not entirely convinced (there are other plausible explanations) but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one – hence the strikethru.