Tone deafness in the (Acrobat) blogosphere


Allow me to detour for a moment from our usual fare of Seemage-focused commentary to lend the support and encouragement of all of us at Seemage and 3DMojo for our fellow blogger Franco Folini.

In a recent post, Franco details how his efforts to engage in open, direct communication with a blogger at Adobe was met with corporate stonewalling.

Reading Franco’s post reminded me of the most important lesson companies need to learn when they start reaching out to online communities: be authentic. If you want to give your point of view, you have to take the commentary of the community. And rule one: the community will tell you lots of things you might not want to hear.

As Franco points out, there’s a tradition of allowing voices to be heard. Stepping on that tradition destroys any claim of authenticity. In Adobe’s case, they’re trying to muscle their way into the CAD world. Ignoring people in that community won’t help. The CAD world just ain’t that big. Needlessly pissing off people who have influence, like Franco, is a huge and long-term mistake.

Adobe has done to Franco the very thing that makes customers feel like companies are monolithic and unapproachable. For its part, Adobe is probably busy dismissing the online CAD community as insignificant or irrelevant. (How wrong they are!)

I am not suggesting that a company has to permit spam or inappropriate commentary. But if you just don’t like what you’re hearing from people, you ignore it at your own peril. On this blog, for example, we do require people to register to post commentary. And we put all incoming trackbacks into a queue to separate out the spam. But we have a strict policy of publishing all valid commentary, even when we disagree.

Sure, is about Seemage, and our vision for revolutionizing the way CAD and PLM are used in manufacturers. People who come here know they’re gonna get a dose of propaganda. But still they come, because they are interested in what we have to say and they know we “get” the blogosphere. And we aren’t trying to control it.

It looks like Adobe is so tone-deaf it thinks it can.

One comment to Tone deafness in the (Acrobat) blogosphere

  • studebacherhoch  says:

    This was posted on Franco’s blog by the Adobe guy. (Hours before your post)

    Hello Franco,

    You’re absolutely correct on this. I won’t provide any excuses, just my apologies for having not posted your comment yet. I’m glad to do so now, if that is okay with you. I do welcome comments – positive and negative – and will try to be sure they appear in a more timely manner moving forward. Keep up the great work, your site is great reading and very thought-provoking.

    Doug Halliday, Adobe

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