Who is Integrated Strategies?

February 4, 2008

Giving Away Your Thoughts

One of the biggest arguments people make against company blogs is that it seems like the equivalent of giving away our intellectual advantage. If we tell people what we think and how we do things what is to keep them from simply doing it themselves? It's a valid question that is worth deeper examination. It's a question that goes to a deeper argument about giving away services or products in hope of selling additional or other services and products.

The argument against giving away knowledge makes a few assumptions that I don't believe are entirely valid. To be specific, the two assumptions I disagree with most are 1) people can completely grasp and execute the topics being discussed and 2) people have the time to do the work themselves. This isn't to say that most people who read this blog don't or can't understand what I'm talking about, it's that they probably don't see and understand the nuances that go beyond the high-level theory. Execution of an idea will bring up every exception, variance and incorrect assumption that cannot be covered in a one page article. It's one thing to talk about warehouse design but until you've done it 3, 20 or 50 times there are aspects you simply won't pick-up on.

There are people that grasp it, have done it in some form and could do it again. Here is where assumption 2 comes in. Those people already have a job that they are expected to perform at a certain level and that job has likely been already balanced to fill a 40 or more hour work week. It's hard to simply divert the attention of these people onto a new task. Their plate is already full.

Here's where the value of giving away the knowledge comes in handy though. If someone understands the value of a certain job and decides that they need it they typically go through some sort of RFP or interview process to decide who can best execute and meet their expectations. If you've been explaining your thoughts on the subject through a blog or newsletter then they have a way to become comfortable with you and your methodology. Especially if their internal experts look at it and approve of it. Assuming that prices are similar, or separated only by some level of tolerance, a company is going to contract someone they trust and feel comfortable with most of the time. In that perspective a blog becomes a means of relationship management and trust building.

Anyone with the time and desire to do what we do themselves can find the articles, whitepapers and processes online for free somewhere. Between Google, Wikipedia and the other millions and millions of websites it is possible to find anything that you want. You could do a search and find thousands of opinions contradicting mine on this topic if you wanted. It comes down to believability, trust and relationship. The same concepts that any strong business is built on. The same traits that most employees are held to. The same words that most people try to live by.

I wouldn't hold back information from a friend just so that I could try and sell him my services and make some extra money. I also don't think anyone who reads this blog would be dumb enough to stick around if I were simply selling my company and making everything we do sound impossible to execute without us. Good businessmen realize that there are always other options for people to hire, products to purchase and opinions on an issue. We want to help everyone that we can with their real estate issues and that may be by simply sharing our opinion on a topic, giving out some free advise or getting hired to do that thorough evaluation that we are good at.

No comments: