The Perils of Showboating

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...

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TOPICS: Collaboration
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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.

Topic: Collaboration

About

Oliver Marks leads the Global Digital Enterprise Team at HP, having previously provided seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on effective planning of business strategy, tactics, technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models that make best use of modern collaborative and social networking tools to achieve their business goals.

These are Oliver's views and not those of his employer HP.

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  • Mocking companies looking for VC money

    Years ago I wrote two articles about start up presentation events. Out in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley there are tons of these events. It was getting out of hand so to have some fun with it, some producers thought it would be funny if we put company presenters through the gauntlet via a "Gong Show" motif. This was during the dot com boom (2000) when companies were so incredibly desperate that they would put themselves through this kind of ridicule.

    This is the story I wrote for ZDTV/TechTV. Product Demos Go Gong Show
    http://www.g4tv.com/techtvvault/features/20623/Product_Demos_Go_Gong_Show.html

    And then I wrote a similar one for Wired News, but it was far more supportive than ridiculing.

    Good Gong: Vying for VC Face Time
    http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/09/55340

    David Spark
    davidspark
  • RE: The Perils of Showboating

    Great point! The idea of getting the intelligent people to collaborate and limiting the "over confident contributors" reminds me of the book "The Wisdom of Crowds" and its discussion on how to channel good collaborative data.
    bkeen_pmp
  • RE: The Perils of Showboating

    Uh yeah... this is a scene from the movie 'Never Back Down'. Those wacky guys in Hollywood!
    docism
  • RE: The Perils of Showboating

    Great article! Very true, "....charge tech entrepreneurs absurd amounts....". Thanks!
    mkabir