Thursday, February 5, 2015

Open letter to CB Insights CEO about leadership and term of service

Dear Anand:

I tried to leave you a comment on the following blog but apparently it didn’t pass moderation so I am going to leave it on my blog and tweet it so you are aware of it.

Sorry to hear about DataViz. This is annoying to say the least. This said I now understand why I was not able to download the 46 page corporate VC whitepaper goodie you offered me via one of your marketing email. It is probably because Spoke is considered a competitor. Truth is I didn't know and I didn't despite 10s of marketing emails you sent me. If you truly care about this terms of service, you should explain as well why you have touched me at least 100 times through marketing materials and offers to download free reports and never let me know that I was in breach of your terms of service. If you want to be one of the leaders of our industry, I strongly advised to be consistent in your message across the board and use marketing techniques that you can swallow otherwise you are going to frustrate a lot of people like the ones who were on this wall.

If I am appalled by what Dataviz did, I seriously advice you remove this paragraph about competitors from your terms of service because it is a serious impediment to the productivity of our industry as well as unenforceable.
1) You basically are asking your competition to ask their employees to read the terms of service of all the sites they visit. You know as well as i do that this is not enforceable and completely counterproductive; 
2) You are also asking your competition to limit their choice of consultants and limit the consultant ability to perform their work; 
3) Lastly, if you are serious about asking your competitors to enforce this clause, I am surprised that you show screenshots of Dataviz in your blog. By doing so, you are using information obtained by a source that would clearly breach your term of service. 
If you want to be one of the leaders of our industry, you need to accept that you are going to be copied because this is what people do to improve. You should blame people like Dataviz if you feel they broke a line. But this term of service is like the Berlin Wall, it has to be brought down for the sake of your company and the industry before people tear it down for you.

Lastly, if you want to frame a culture and lead the industry this way, make sure you let people write comments on your blog posts. After all, we live in the 21st century in the open internet and this wall you have created for yourself seems very very old school to me.
Philippe Cases, CEO Spoke Software

PS: in the spirit of full disclosure, I received this blog tracking your company through Owler. You can see how bad I am.