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Reaping what you sow – or be careful what you wish for

Charles Christian writes… Just following up on some earlier comments – including the question “when did I become a grumpy opinionated gossip columnist” (or grumpy opionated gossip columninst – as the commentator actually wrote – if you are going to fling jibes at me, do at least try to get the spelling correct). This has prompted a flurry of emails and phone calls from other readers saying “Yes please, we like it when you are grumpy and opinionated” and “it's about time we had a bit more fun”.

So, never one to ignore my audience, from next month we'll be running a weekly podcast (on here + a couple other blogs & social media outlets) in which I will be having an out-and-out rant about whatever takes my fancy. More details to follow.

39 replies on “Reaping what you sow – or be careful what you wish for”

Charles – lets be fair here – as a vendor who has sponsored your site and had to bear the brunt of your opinion I feel I have the right to comment. Yes you can be grumpy, opinionated and peddle gossip but as the Sun readers of this country will testify to, that is (sadly) what people want which is exactly why yo do it. I dont stay stop – but I do say you deserve any retort you get especially when in the majority of cases you have sparked the whole debate with a Christian Rant Against Product (did I just create a new acronym?) – a little more professional journalism would be most welcome too!

The original mission statement for the Insider newsletter (back in 1995) was to be more like Private Eye than like the Law Society Gazette – CC

That is no excuse for the poor quality and bad judgment – “Private Eye” was/is widely respected.

You go girlfriend! i'm all for documenting the crazed rants of a derranged mind (and I mean that in the best possible way!) 🙂

as any fule kno if there were a subscription I would probably not cancel.

For what its worth I have enjoyed reading this blog for as long as I have been in the industry. The mixture of industry news and gossip has been both interesting and on occassion extremely useful when in the market for a new solution. I also enjoy the splash of wit thrown in from time to time by our intrepid reporter. And there lies the rub. When Charles makes a comment/statement we know it is him, it is the anonymous (sometimes cowardly) comments that have taken a turn for the worse. I thought the comments in the Shoosmiths/SAP thread involving David Bason were outrageous, bordering on slander and unnecessary. So I say more of the same Charles but everyone else show yourselves or dont comment!

Agreed, the rag is a good read, but what a silly post. If we weren't allowed to post anonymously there would be 99% less posts and so the site becomes Charles' monologue on a soap box. With all due respect to Charlie, that wouldn't be terribly interesting, unless you counted that thing about telcos, to which i could add my own sordid story of pathetic customer service.
Oh and please, the Shoosmiths SAP thread made PMS selection interesting, and seriously – an ex SAP guy somehow convinciing his partnership to back that decision is absolutely interesting news and worthy of comment. One can only hope that some of the partners read the thread and asked him some very hard questions around why they are implementing a system that is arguably not the right one. I'd take that back only if someone was to tell me they were angling to make themselves an attractive merger proposition for one of the few SAP law firms out there…

the rants of rejected software suppliers are always entertaining (possible book opportunity there Charles) but anonymous often uninformed personal attacks are simply cowardice. Anyone (especially a PMS vendor) that thinks the selection of a business critical solution is down to one person is seriously dillusional. You are right the decision was interesting and worthy of comment but the attacks on one person were cheap and belong back in the double glazing arena where I suspect they herald from.

…not the first personal attack from a PMS vendor in the past month or two

Ha double glazing, you tell him – this loser wouldnt make it – 30 places in The knob list all for you mate – oh but you wouldnt have the guts to reveal who you are would you

Judging by the posts on this blog, vendors and customers hate each other so much it is a wonder they ever do any business at all.

Love the Annon posting asking another Annon poster if he has “guts” to make themselves known. Classic!

Talking of The KnobList – I've just been spammed by someone in the current KnowList asking me whether I spend too much time working with spreadsheets preparing law firm budgets. Why would I ? …Charles Christian

For the sake of allowing Charles to sleep well at night again, I'd like to apologise on behalf of all of those sad individuals whose derision towards the knowlist is clearly because they aren't on it. Charles – being right up at the top of the knowlist doesn't make you one of the biggest knobs, at least relative to many others working in legal I could mention.

A software supplier writes “I was very pleased to read that my company had been nominated in one of the categories in next year's awards (or the KnobList as Charles has cruelly christened them) by one of our largest law firm users. That was until the firm's IT director emailed to say how dare I use his name to endorse the nomination. So if we didn't nominate ourselves and the firm didn't, what's going on?”

Interesting – no information on who made the nominations has been made public yet – you must have inside information assuming this isnt yet another anonymous bit of mischief making

we're nominated and very happy with it! – suggest you turn down your nomination especially if you are in our category!

A software supplier writes “Well its hardly going to be a secret from me when the organisers send me a hyperlink to details of the nomination – of course whether we'll still be nominated when we decline to take a table is a different matter…”

Will there be a Jan Durant Award category open to anyone called Jan Durant who has given a presentation on the future of Microsoft Sharepoint as a DMS?

mmm – hyperlink to the details? – definite mischief going on here – have you told the organisers about the mystery nomination?

So how exactly did the IT director see his/her name so as to email you?

A wish-I-hadn't-started-all-this software supplier writes “Because they also sent the firm a copy of the nomination because they hope the firm will also want to book a table at the awards – its called marketing.”

Please tell us your product that an IT Director is embarrased to be associated with 😉

I think someone's missing the point here – that neither the vendor nor the firm nominated themselves & the product/project/whatever for an award – and that both sides are now a little bemused about being bounced into attending an awards ceremony they know nothing about.
Awards ceremonies are like Christmas crackers – sometimes they contain a nice toy or a funny joke but most of the time you end up going home with nothing but a silly hat. A rather more fundamental question is whether in the 'new normal' – as the post recession economy looks like being called – awards ceremonies have become old school? Besides, most vendors would make better use of their marketing budgets by throwing private functions for their users – Charles Christian

The organisers can categorically state that no information as to nominations has been published or made available by weblink. The nominations both anonymous and stated have been collated in preparation for shortlisting. All short listed parties will be contacted to confirm that they are happy with the short listing and its details. They will also have the choice whether collateral content is made public during the voting process.

“individuals whose derision towards the knowlist is clearly because they aren't on it” – there are only 29 other people (in addition to the sales team and those from within the industry who hope to sell off the idea/awards/publication to make a buck out of their peers) who share your view.
Am guessing you're one of these.
I've not heard anyone who isn't on the knoblist run around crying about the fact that they missed out, nor missing any sleep over why or how to get on the next one.
Let's just put out there what everyone already knows and cut the shit. Those vendor representatives on it paid directly to get on it via either advertising/sponsorship of the publication or via a direct fee (rumour says for as little as 75 pounds for some people who came in late when they couldn't fill the publication).
Those non-vendors on the knoblist made the list because they are the same dirty dozen from mid sized semi-successful firms who've been around for so long that their options are exhausted. Anyone could have guessed who would be on this list prior to it coming out. There were absolutely no surprises. Sadly. How banal.
As for the objective of the “directory”. If you're a CIO (of which there are few in this industry as most are really simply IT Managers who have given themselves a rather inflated title) and you don't know who to turn to in relation to finding a supplier, I suggest that you pick up the phone to a peer and find out based on fact and case studies, rather than on sponsored advertising, or (even better) get your vendor in to talk to you!
Turning to the awards. The same old tricks. Tell a vendor they have been nominated so that they feel they need to purchase a table and sponsor. Get a few vendors in from the start at a premium price, then tell a few more at the last minute (when your greed takes over and/or when you realise that you're numbers are not up to scratch) that they are getting the deal of the century at a discounted rate.
Throw a few non-vendor categories to play on the impressionable minds of a few young IT managers from unknown or insignificant firms who want their managing partners to change their title from IT Manager to CIO (even though you run a team of six), and you have yourself a few tables of hired suits and bad cocktail dresses from H&M. It is just like seeing the tasteless middle classes going to Ascot races on the trains.
The recipe becomes complete when you have midgets giving out the awards as well as receiving them, when old and tired consultants with old and tired ideas heckle with the same phrases they've used at the same events, and when sensible vendors wake the next morning with the same thought as last year – wondering why they bothered shelling out the same money for the same people to behave in the same way and to get the same results (i.e. no impact on sales for their sales and marketing expenditure).
Wake up people. Spend your time and money in more innovative and “value creating” ways.
Just because there are a few lemmings out there without the ability to move away from the few bullies in the industry, doesn't mean we need more.
Internal IT staff. Go to your MP/CFO and tell them you can save them a few thousand by not participating in an award or conference that has zero value. They'll love you for it.
Potential vendor sponsors. Go to your CEOs and tell them you can spend the marketing budget in a better way by not participating in a dinner that has zero value, but by spending the money on true relationships. They'll love you for it.
Knoblist. Stop insulting us by selling us the line that you're adding a valued service to the community or the industry. You're the latest in a line of people who are here to make money off law firms (your peers and your friends in some instances which makes it even more insulting), money off vendors, and money off anyone who has it and is willing to give it. Period.
Your publication has no value, so it is priced correctly, and only 30 people have not filed it where it belongs. The trash.

And I hereby nominate Mr Brown for some sort of award for being one of the very, very few in this astonishing discussion to have the balls to put his name to his post.

Someone missed their half year target? What “value creating” have you brought to the table? hope you sell some product soon so that you can spend keyboard time on invoices- a tired old industry consultant

Whoever posted this is one sad individual. I've gone through my not insignificant contact list and cannot imagine anyone in it writing such a bitter rant. If you're big and brave enough, come in and have a cup of tea with me and I'll explain just exactly why you've got it all wrong.

Charles Christian adds – so there is no doubt, this comment really was posted by Jan Durant.

Wow, I thought, when I got this email… and then I say it had beeb bcc-ed to multiple recipients
I am very pleased to confirm that having made TheKnowList Top30 you have been automatically short listed for the 2010 KnowList Awards in the category of Person of the Year.
The law firm categories of IT strategist and IT team of the year have now been finalised along with the category for Person of the year which is voted for from the top30. The vendor categories are still being reviewed although all shortlists will be finalised and published to on or before Monday 19th October.
Please remember that all awards will be decided by industry vote. Voting will only be available to members of and restricted to a maximum of 5 per domain.
Tables are for 10 people and are available at £2,500 per table although some half tables and individual places are also available. In addition there will be three front positioned VIP tables available at £5K which will include Champagne during the evening and a gift for your guests.
Please visit for further information and on behalf of TheKnowList we would like to wish you every success in your category.
I look forward to seeing you for the awards ceremony on Thursday 21st January at the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel.

All this talk of Knobs piqued my interest, so I took a peek, so to speak. To my surprise there were quite a few non Knobs on the list and whilst there were a few of the bigger knobs on the list, there were some of the more “stature challenged” knobs conspicuous by their absence from the list. But the thing that bugged me most of all was why oh why are the pictures in the style of the Boden Women's Clothing Magazine?
Title: IT Director
Favourite Book: Delusions of Grandeur – John Rae
Favourite album: Ride of the Valkyries – Richard Wagner
If I weren't in Legal IT I would be…first up against the wall come the revolution.
Title: Strategic Solution Provider (aka Salesman)
Favourite Book: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – Susan Jeffers
Favourite album: The Fat of the Land – The Prodigy
If I weren't in Legal IT I would be…finding where the steps are at the shallow end of the gene pool.

Let's take a vote – is this industry simply full of bitter, jaded has beens or are all these vitriolic comments really from a small number of legal industry types who, having fallen into believing their own press, honestly think they're 'a cut above' whilst in reality contributing little to the industry? I could name a few, but why can't we all just… get along.

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