I’ve always respected Vince Bonfanti and his New Atlanta team. We’ve spoken at events together, we’re cordial and respectful when we meet, and on occasion we’ve even chatted about our products and direction. Although I don’t know him personally, Vince has always struck me as a sharp guy, someone who understands and is passionate about technology, and he seems like a decent person. That, even though we are competitors.
Over the years I have been very careful to never negatively comment on his company or products, even when asked to make comparisons. Never, I just wouldn’t do that. And frankly, I’ve never even felt the need to do so. It’s a big pond out there, and if ColdFusion does well while its clones do the same, well, that’s good for everybody.
Which is why Vince’s recent post on who leads and who copies bothered me. Vince has every right to say what he wants, and at the end of the day he wants to sell product, and I understand that. But when the message changes from one of selling your product’s benefits and virtues to a rant that more closely resembles preschoolers in the sandbox arguing “my daddy is bigger than your daddy”, well, that’s both sad and pathetic.
But it’s gotten worse, and thus this post. Recently, one of Vince’s staff was discussing his product with a member of the press at a trade show, and used the opportunity to badmouth ColdFusion and Adobe, as well as to imply that Adobe is abandoning ColdFusion, almost trying to position them and their product as the heir apparent. How pathetic! I have briefed the press on lots of products hundreds of times in a decade and a half, and I have never yet had to resort to badmouthing others and lying about their products or plans so as to make my point. It feels a bit like presidential political races, where those who have little positive to say about themselves have to resort to innuendoes and mudslinging, and those on the sidelines shake their heads in dismay and mutter disappointedly. Honestly, having that little faith in your own product is rather sad.
New Atlanta is a privately held company, so no one outside really knows how well they are doing. Over the years Vince and others have told me that they were doing well, and I have always believed them and have been happy for them. But the increasingly defensive positioning and rants, not to mention shenanigans with the press, well, that really smells of desperation. And that’s rather sad, too.
Next week we start the big Scorpio Usergroup tour. Tim, Adam, and myself will visit dozens of locations and get the chance to speak to thousands of customers, introducing them to what is shaping up to be a truly incredible new ColdFusion. And I can assure you that I’ll have no difficulty demonstrating and pitching ColdFusion without having to resort to even mentioning any other vendor or product. And I definitely won’t have to badmouth them or make up stories for uninformed reporters.
I guess when you actually have a story worth telling, taking the highroad is easy.