True lies

by Volker Weber

When I wrote about the 10 beliefs of the Domino community yesterday, one of the beliefs was "Microsoft employees are habitual liars". Of course this is pure nonsense. So I got one reply which stated "only the sales people". This seems to make more sense then, but it really does not. What are the chances, that one company's sales people are all liars? Think about car salesmen and their bad reputation. It may appear they are all liars, but they are not. At least not the good ones. What they do is they believe in the superiority of their product. Only if they truly believe that, they become good at their job. It does not matter if the product is superior. They have to believe it. So they don't have to lie.

For them it's a war. The enemy may not even be human after all. They are fighting for a good cause. The enemy is evil. Funny thing is, if you look at it from the other side, it's a similar picture. Only the talking points change. Whereas one believes in the superior quality of his product, the other thinks he has the better price and customers would get ripped off buying his competitor's product. And besides, isn't the other guy's car going out of production?

If you don't pick a side, it becomes pretty clear that both sides are both right and wrong. And if you take away the true lies, then there are still good and bad things in both products.

You can only afford to tell the truth if you are not afraid to lose a sale.


So, taht means that Notes is still dead?


Alex Hernandez, 2008-03-26

If you ask Steve Ballmer, yes. If you ask Steve Mills, no. Ok, I am not sure about Steve Mills. If you ask Mike Rhodin, no.

In the long run, we are all dead. But that's not the question, isn't it?

Volker Weber, 2008-03-26

From my experience, telling the truth makes you win (much) more sales than you may loose. And the lost ones often come back once they have discovered that you told them the truth (they almost always come back if others did not).

Florian Vogler, 2008-03-26

Remember: the good salesman is not a liar. Everything he says is true. From his point of view. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-03-26

"the good salesman is not a liar. Everything he says is true. From his point of view."

That quote has been locked away for future use. How true, how true...

Stuart McIntyre, 2008-03-26

I'd say there is a difference between the truth and what you want others (or even yourself) to believe is true. The point of view that counts is not that of the salesman, but that of the vis-à-vis which leaves the truth to be a matter of interpretation.

In the end one can always blame others for a wrong interpretation - or stick with the truth in the first place ^^

Florian Vogler, 2008-03-26

It's like the old joke -

Q. What's the difference between an IT salesperson and a used car salesperson?

A. The used car salesperson knows that s/he is lying.

Nick Shelness, 2008-03-26

Consider the salesman who switches from selling one brand to another. For the switcher to be successful he must abandon his previously believed truth and wholeheartedly adopt the previous opponent's truth. Sounds pretty disruptive, doesn't it, for someone to reverse his position yet not be a liar before or after? Yet, this happens often enough.

So, why does it happen? Mostly, I'm sure, it is because a successful salesman is the one who (a) is best able to judge which set of true lies will be most likely to line his pockets, and (b) has actually drunk the least amount of the Kool-Aid he has been serving to others. He was always aware that he was just an observer in one particular position, with one particular frame of reference.

However, there are things that are objectively true or objectively false, and a frame of reference can be judged by how much objective information it obscures. So I would shift the belief to this: "The Microsoft sales and marketing frame of reference habitually obscures more objective truth than the IBM sales and marketing frame of reference." Of course, only a truly neutral observer can really make that judgment, and I'm certainly not in that category.

Richard Schwartz, 2008-03-26

On a more serious note. The following quote is attributable to me:

"I never had a technical person at Microsoft lie to me, and I never had a technical person at Netscape tell me the truth."

One of the reasons for the former is that Microsoft has always put a premium on people telling the truth internally. I've got a secret is just not acceptable. At least with respect to technical people, they seem to maintain a similar posture when it comes to talking with outsiders.

Nick Shelness, 2008-03-26

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe