There’s a constant give and take in blogging about whether you should share your full thoughts and details or hold back and let people reach out to you for more. I personally fall into the camp of share everything. If someone is smart enough to take your thoughts and use them without you, they would have anyway. Most of your prospective customers are not going to fall into that camp.
I wasn’t going to write about this topic again except that it came up in a conversation last week and then Seth Godin wrote about it on his blog today.
Ideas are very fragile things. They are notoriously difficult to implement correctly and even more difficult to gain buy-in to even get to the implementation phase. Sometimes the environment isn’t supportive, others the technology isn’t ready, sometimes the team isn’t capable of pulling it off, sometimes you just encounter pure bad luck. Stealing ideas is hard.
Putting your thoughts on the web has the benefit of showing you’re not just an expert, but a conversational expert. When you can talk about something over several posts or in a casual way you have progressed beyond just “general knowledge.” It takes you beyond the point of being someone that should be considered for hiring to being someone that is the only option to hire.
The interview process – whether to hire a person or company – is filled with pitfalls. Do you really have enough information to make an informed decision? Do you really have the time to get to that point? What questions should you ask to make sure you have covered the right ground? When a person or company has a track record written down over years on a specific topic it is much easier to understand how they can help you in your specific scenario.
This should include what kind of outputs, methods, and models would be used to get to answers. Is the fact that you have a custom Excel model really an industry secret? Is the fact that you use BI to model the scenario that unique? Is your year-long effort to create a proprietary database of data really so special as to be kept secret except for face-to-face meetings?
Knowlege seeks freedom.