The Perils of Showboating

Summary:My friend David Spark sent me the link to the above video while we were chatting online this morning, and I facetiously commented it was a little like TechCrunch vs ZDNet.The bizarre contest above, which appears to be between a Capoeira performer and a boxer, doesn't end well for the showboater...

My friend David Spark sent me the link to the above video while we were chatting online this morning, and I facetiously commented it was a little like TechCrunch vs ZDNet.

The bizarre contest above, which appears to be between a Capoeira performer and a boxer, doesn't end well for the showboater...and there is something curiously analogous to the tech world about the scenario.

Those who chose to make themselves highly visible through controversy and antagonism, or who relentlessly push their agenda in public spaces, often suddenly come a cropper.

This contest is clearly fascinating to a group of insiders who watch the spectacle closely and sound intimately involved. The problem is this type of thing actually harms the greater perception of what happened (would you go to this night club or whatever it is?)

An analogy could be with public online quarrels, such as the turf war between DEMO and challenger TechCrunch50 to charge tech entrepreneurs absurd amounts to participate in Pop Idol/American Idol like knock out contests in front of a core clique of judges for prizes.

Others perception of all this - particularly the traditional IT world - is often that it is sometimes nothing but a tawdry spectacle, showboating gossamer weight technologies to try and fleece the gullible.

This is a shame because it can actually marginalize powerful new concepts and technologies which in a worse case scenario are unfairly associated with showboating.

Another analogy is with those who push their products and services through mediums such as Twitter; it can be easy to unwittingly alienate the audience you are followed by with too much crowd sourcing and opinionated antagonism. The knockout blow can be sudden and swift - and hard to recover from.

Bringing this back to enterprise collaboration, there is a management reality that those who showboat in a corporate online collaboration community risk sanction from management. Community managers know well the issue of coaxing often brilliant individuals to contribute while managing the outpourings of other over confident contributors who actually have little to say except to advance their own position.

This is human nature at its most basic, and those who overplay their hand often regret it.

Topics: Collaboration

About

With extensive senior management practical experience in international enterprise collaboration, Oliver previously managed the Sony PlayStation 'WorldWide Studios' collaboration extranet, and has worked with the American Management Association, Sun, Docent/SumTotal Systems, Harvard Business School and McKinsey & Company on major initiativ... Full Bio

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