A few weeks ago I was on slashdot reading and replying to comments on the asynchronous computers story.
As someone who researches asynchronous logic I get a little excited about stories like this but also feel this strange compelling desire to help morons try and fight their inability to find the other side of the coin.
I sent a few posts explaining to people that maybe the stuff that they have learned about at school electronics and thus making them the world expert of the matter and dribble on on slashdot for hours explaining why everyone is wrong might be in fact NOT the only method of doing things!
But even worse than the typical slashdot geeks who recall their school education and believe in nothing else than what "Mr Smith my IT teacher said" are the sad geek wannabees.
You know the ones. The ones who have no idea about the topic but are very very keen. Unfortunately due to their total lack of engineering skills they didn't make it as engineers.
But luckily their five minute memory span was exactly enough to remember and regertutate what someone told them is going to be the "next big thing".
Having no recollection of what happened more than five minutes ago helped them to predict and convince their managers that the future is in: Java, Intraweb, .net, C# or anything else some marketing presentation decided to stick in their heads.
After all not only are these people easy to convince but they themselves are very convincing to others. You cant get a better liar than someone who doesn't know they are lying.
Unfortunately there is enough of these trend followers that you can get the whole world to do anything you want. Lets say you want the world to only use my: OS, ID cards, mechanically recovered chicken burgers ...
Spend all your money on the marketing presentation. And the product? Well who cares about it until its accepted anyway? By then you will be rolling in it so you will be able to spare some cash that way.
Except for one little thing. Patents, patents and more patents. You might not know what your product is yet so your patents will have to be very broad.
So how do you convince the world with no products? That's the simple part, once you have gained a critical mass of idiocy then the others will fall with the rest.
Who cares if your product has its already been done? As long as you have enough people believing in you the little people thinking you might be wrong get destroyed on the sidelines.
Trying to convince the people at the top who have never been wrong to not go down the route some marketing presentation has showed is quite difficult. And probably impossible. But I stupidly try again and again.
So when I read a message like "What about company X? I went to their presentation and they told me they were the best so I will tell everyone else." where I have also been to company X's presentations and read about 10 of their papers and found their approach to be based on marketing hype I cry.
Unfortunately I didn't just cry. I was feeling stupid so I decided to inform the party that company X was pants and their contribution to the real world was somewhere between nil and confusion.
They then replied showing exactly what I feared. They did just go to one presentation and their whole perception of the real world was based on the one maybe two hours exposure to this company's corporate strategy.
This is where I should have stopped, why should I care if there is one less moron with his foot stuck in an animal trap? They will just jump head first into another one.
But something inside me said 'This person cares, they want to know the trough, tell them, tell them'.
So I explained the company's basis and why its wrong. I didn't stop there. I also stated my belief that they seem to also apply the business strategy stated above.
As a little aside. I advise you not to do this. Although companies will state this fact to future investors as these company models make a hell of a lot on money they don't want everyone else to know.
So phrases like "We have developed an aggressive patent program" is ok. It tells investors that their business will be profitable but doesn't reveal any wrong doing.
But phrases like "Patent now think later" is not ok. They have spent considerable amount of time trying to confuse everyone into submission and do not appreciate their drones being shown the light.
So how do you stop someone badmouthing your company strategy online? Well you have two options.
The first is to ask the person directly for evidence of their opinions and if they cannot produce any then ask them to withdraw their statement.
The second is much more interesting. You don't have to threaten the person directly. After all a lawsuit will cost you more than the person is worth.
You simply plead ignorance and claim you thought the person was speaking on behalf of the company where top people sat down in a meeting and after several hours of deliberating they decided to send a comment on a random web site.
But Im not bitter. Its not as if any of this has happened. And companies like that don't exist anyway. Why would good people believe and suck up to them anyway?
These aren't even my opinions, at least I dont think I am allowed them. They sure as hell are not opinions of my employer.