’s Latest PsyOp Against Siebel

“To seduce the enemies soldiers from their allegiance and encourage them to surrender is of special service, for an adversary is more hurt by desertion than by slaughter.”Vegetius, ca. 390 A.D.

It appears that Marc Benioff and his minions are up to their new/old tricks, this time in San Mateo, CA. Through utter and sheer coincidence, I happened to be driving through the intersection in front of Siebel’s offices today, and what do I see? Not one, but TWO billboard trucks circling the building on two-minute intervals (it’s not a very big block).

salesforce-siebel1 salesforce-siebel2

The text on the trucks reads (click the pics to enlarge):

Suffering from post-acquisition syndrome?

[circle-slash through “FUTURE”]

Change your future.

(This harkens back to SFDC’s “picketing” of past Siebel events, and Benioff’s continued unhealthy fascination with both Tom Siebel and Larry Ellison.)

On one hand, this kind of stuff evokes a chuckle. On the other, Paul Greenberg had two great posts on this type of behavior that is increasingly endemic in the industry. The money quotes:

“Its time to stop this crap now – at least with me. I truly don’t care if you have some gloating piece of information on “you’re better than they are because they suck at this.”

I think that its about time for the On Demand crowd to recognize they are a major force in the business world now and they have to act like it.

Or maybe they are acting like it.

All I know is that I find the “tactic” of demeaning ones opponent rather than competing on the merits and value of the applications or services or products to the customer dismaying and disgusting.” – from here


“I’m going to reiterate something I’ve said before. The On Demand world needs to stop this ADD [“Attack, Demean, Degrade”] offensive. It is deeply offensive because it is just so damned childish.

What makes this dangerous is that On Demand will be the dominant force in CRM without a doubt very soon and will be the dominant platform for the customer experience over the next few years. Do you want your customer’s experience run by an industry that loves to spit bile?” – from here

Louis Columbus also chimes in with a gem: “Denigrating competitors is a sign that companies doing the slamming don’t really and truly have enough faith in their own applications to sell on the value they deliver. Taking the low road of celebrating a competitor’s misfortune makes you wonder how a company feels about valuable, yet sometimes difficult customers pushing the limits of applications and services…”

Despite the brief amusements they provide, “vendor sports” (a term I believe Doc Searls coined, more refs here) really do, ultimately, hurt the customer. Why? Because the combatants are investing their time, energy and creativity in tasks that ultimate are nothing more than the Silicon Valley equivalent of chest-thumping and locker-room comparisons instead of focusing their scarce resources on the things that improve the customer experience.

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3 Replies to “’s Latest PsyOp Against Siebel”

  1. Chris

    Despite the well-meaning complaints from Paul and others, I am not so convinced.

    Psychological warfare has a well-established track-record an an effective communications weapon with which to attack an enemy. If the business as another form of warfare analogy holds true, there is no legitimate reason why it shouldn’t be used as part of the communications mix to broader markets.

    The question is not a moral one about whether it is to be condoned or not, but a pragmatic one about whether it works or not.

    Graham Hill
    Independent Management Consultant

  2. Have to admit that I mostly got a chuckle. I didn’t see this particular stunt as denigrating a competitor as much as calling attention to oneself.

    On the other hand, Paul’s post was definitely referring to one vendor denigrating another – no chuckles, just nastiness.

    Clearly humor works better.

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