September 22, 2014

I Heartily Endorse This Event Or Product

Everyone's a cynic. Or at least it can often seem that way, when the concept of 'balanced' reporting means to find the gray cloud for every silver lining, giving equal weight to unequal issues or looking for ulterior motives from well intended people who genuinely find value from products, groups or communities.

Many years ago, I made a decision to use my blog for good and not evil, per se. I recognized there was little value in tearing things down, and that my readers and I would benefit more from a series of highlights than a trolling muckery through half-finished products and half baked business models. (See: Does Negativity Deliver Credibility? If So, That's Nuts.) There are enough good companies and good products that you can showcase the very best - something I've gotten even tighter at since reducing my regular posts here to something less frequent.

But when I do find something I really enjoy, and use regularly, I want to tell you about it, and that position is a genuine one. I want you to see the same benefits I do, and give the company or service more users, improving their chance at success, and extending the network effect, which often brings me value. As +Mark Hopkins said back in 2008, regarding my consistency: "Forget product evangelist. When he likes something, he's a one man crusade."

This weekend's Twitter discussion about sponsored posts.

In a world where many people are using their streams to promote self interests, be it their companies, their stock investments, or pimping their latest book, I'm hyper aware of being trusted. My posts aren't sponsored. So this weekend, after highlighting MightyText, a personal favorite app I helped unveil and have since covered regularly, one Twitter user snarkily suggested the update was an ad, or sponsored. And that's annoying. With Twitter being at times overrun by self-promoters and shillers, it's no good to be lumped in with the dreck.

I use MightyText daily because it's an exceptionally fast way to text from my computer or tablet. I switched to Android more than four years ago because I was very happy with the product's direction and the wealth of choices available compared to iOS, let alone Blackberry or Palm. My preferring one over the other doesn't mean that your choices are bad or that I wish ill on anyone who has selected an alternative. It's just what I prefer, and I'm more than eager to tell you why.

If you're pushing products you don't actually care for, you're in danger of losing the trust earned with those in your community. Sonos and Spotify made sense to me right away. ChromeOS was alluring and is now my go to OS all the time. I've been a happy eTrade user for 15 years. Sunrun and Rachio are saving me money and helping the environment at the same time. The list of brands I've interacted with that I can point you to are many. But it's not because I have hollow self interest. If I did, you could wait to see my disclosures. That's what they're for.

Disclosures: I work at Google, which in some ways competes with Sonos in hardware, Spotify in software and MightyText for messaging. But I still love those products. And Sunrun has a great referral program. But that's not the point.