Re: Conflict of interest?
"Isn't it a conflict of interest for Trevor to report on Synology while touting their gear to his own customers? Obviously he wouldn't want them to go bust. What exactly is his interest in the company?"
I am not entirely sure why it would be a conflict of interest to report on Synology while selling it to my customers. I sell Microsoft software and services to my customers too, and I tear them a new arse every other day. Any vendor is disposable, and - to be perfectly blunt - I don't make my living selling computers. I keep my hand it in because doing so allows me to keep a presence at the coalface of IT, making sure my skills stay sharp and that I have knowledge and experience relevant to the IT companies I report on.
What might represent a conflict of interest - but I honestly feel does not - is that i am currently engaged with Synology on a very narrow contract to provide them a VMworld booth demo. This demo consists of a Supermicro FatTwin server, A Supermicro Switch and a Synology RackStation all configured to run various workloads that stress the Synology storage. The contract is very narrowly defined, and I have no other role (such as ongoing consulting, etc) beyond that specific deliverable.
Given the voluminous red tape that is Synology's internal marketing spend processes, there is zero reason to believe I would get another contract from them. So, being frank, there is no incentive on my part to be nice to them. I have a fixed contract that says "I gets my money if I deliver the goods" and there's nothing in there about not pissing off the natives.
And I piss off the natives rather a lot. They weren't exactly happy I ran a pair of pieces that said, in essence, "Synology made mistakes and needs to reorganize themselves internally and spend a stonking huge pile of money to make things better in the long run."
I've never tried to hide who I am working with. You can always find out information about my open-ended engagements at http://www.trevorpott.com/about/ under "disclosure".
I don't list narrowly focused, fixed-deliverable contracts unless those contracts compel me to advocate on behalf of a client. Once more being blunt: I get so many jobs creating whitepapers, blogs, demo videos, booth demos and so forth that the fixed-deliverable stuff all blurs together. They don't make me any more or less happy about a company.
A great example is Microsoft. They gave me a free year of MSDN so that I would be able to have licences to write about their software. Didn't make me any more charitable towards them.
VMware ensures I have a suite of the latest licenses, if you read my writing over at SearchVMware, I don't exactly pull punches with them either...and the VMware licenses I get are enough to run my lab.
Bottom line: if there is ever something I - or any of the circle of professionals I trust to help me make these judgements - feel presents the possibility for conflict of interest, that will be listed in the disclosure section of my personal website for all to see.
In the meantime and betweentime, I will report on anything interesting I turn up - positive or negative - with as little personal bias as I am capable of demonstrating. I will also use and abuse any and all of my contacts within every vendor I can to advocate on behalf of "the little guy": the end customer, end user and the sub-1000 seat SMB.
As regards Synology, this means using all my connections there to try to get them to take a more serious approach to security. But I don't give Synology any more of a break than I would any other company.
Well, except Ninite. They get a free pass no matter what. But I'm allowed to be an unashamed fanboy of at least one company, aren't I?