Sponsors Should Embrace Freedom, not Fear It

I appreciate the motivation behind the “shooting yourself in the foot” intercession, but there are a few things you gotta understand about the way my mind works (specifically, in this space). šŸ˜‰

  1. I am not paid by political organizations, nor would I wish to be (ever). This is where most of the controversy arises. I am an advocate for individual rights, and I am someone who stands for the power of critical thinking – so if any sponsor finds that too much of a problem, then maybe we don’t belong together after all.
  2. I am an advocate of the “user” above all, accommodating the sponsors secondarily with the knowledge that they, too, have my audience’s best interest at heart. This is the primary reason Gnomedex continues to be successful, year after year – we value our sponsors to an extreme degree, but not at the cost of the attendees. Everyone gets treated like a VIP, because they’re all VERY important.
  3. True controversy should arise when content reads like a mirror to a sponsor’s message, not when it counters or does not support it directly. Your wisdom is a bit misguided, as illustrated a few weeks ago with the much ballyhooed FM / Microsoft / Blogger flap.
  4. To be successful, one must keep a sponsor’s position completely in check. We had been denied support funds for our conference largely because we do not sell speaking slots to any bidder. Some companies will have none of that, and that’s just fine by us. It gets real tricky when you deal with vendors who have a direct and immediate impact on the community-at-large. I will not name other organizations who sell a stage seat at any level, as I have only circumstantial evidence to know that Gnomedex is the gigantic exception to the rule.
  5. I don’t wish to be a commodity blogger – never have, never will. Sometimes, you have to attack the status quo to cut through the echo chamber and get people to understand that sometimes the Emperor has no clothes. Polar positions, while sometimes outlandish, serve to provide a balance – and should be welcomed instead of feared.

Don’t get to know someone for their position in a company – get to know them for who they are. Develop relationships, not business contacts.