How to talk about your competitors - EMC setting the standard

I have seen a lot of back and forth via social media of late between people working for different vendors, each upset with one another over some apparent FUD smearing of each other.  Let me just say if you are a vendor, and you are speaking negatively about your competitors - you are doing it wrong and you will quickly lose credibility.  So if, for example, you offer a product that uses, oh I don’t know a VSAN like storage architecture should you really be saying anything negative about VSAN?  I think VMware coming out with VSAN shows the mindset shift towards less complex infrastructures.  If you as a vendor provide this VSAN like feature, this will ultimately only help your product if you market it correctly and don’t start in on bad mouthing competition.

Here is a quick story about how any vendor, or any person, should handle talking about their competition.  Last week I had a meeting with 3 people from EMC, when I woke up that morning I had completely forgot about the meeting and dressed casually as I normally would for work.  I grabbed a nice pair of jeans and my favorite t-shirt - a Nutanix No-SAN shirt.  It wasn’t until I walked into the conference room that I realized I was wearing a Nutanix shirt AND meeting with EMC!  Egads, this was bound to be awkward.  One of the SE’s saw the shirt, laughed and simply said “nice shirt!”  An hour an a half went by, not a single reference was made again about the shirt or Nutanix.  The SE simply focused on the product we were discussing and why he felt like it was the appropriate choice for us given our workload requirements.  He never once said Nutanix was bad, or not a good solution or not a good vendor.  Not one single word.  When we were wrapping up the meeting and someone was talking notes on next steps he ended with “And don’t forget to get him some EMC shirts.”

That SE has completely earned my respect, and EMC as a whole for the way these 3 people carried themselves, made no attempt to bad mouth a competitor and simply presented their product.  So if you are a vendor, and you hear about employees bad mouthing a competitor rest assured that, over time, you will lose the respect of the people you are talking with.