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The Problem with Brand Bias

With so much technology out there, it’s inevitable that the market will offer dozens of solutions which essentially do the same thing. They will battle it out by differentiating themselves through pricing, features, perks, or even appealing to a younger audience.
People in the IT world love to talk shop. We want to be up-to-date on the latest trends and take the new tech for a spin. We find ourselves gossiping about tech that is failing to deliver what it promised or is on the verge of becoming obsolete. We also love to compete on who heard all the latest news first. And with all the talking, we inevitably discuss brands we have strong opinions about.
If you were to get into a casual conversation about technology with two or more people, you would likely get three or more biased opinions about one or more technology providers. You’ll hear sentiments like these:

“Microsoft is not a leader; all they do is copy.”
“Apple is all flash and no substance.”
“What does Google do other than a search engine? They are a sham.”
“How is Amazon a technology company? They are an e-commerce site.”

And the list goes on.

I once had a conversation with the CIO of a large enterprise; he conveyed his utter distaste with a particular software vendor. When asked about his experience, he could not identify a single technical reason for his malcontent towards the software vendor. All he kept repeating to me was some history about the formation of that software vendor 15 years ago and how they acquired some company for lower than market value, etc…. It was all about the inner working of the business deal and nothing about the software.
This is an all too common scenario in our industry. We hear one negative thing or pass judgement based on irrelevant factors and decide the software is no good. We choose not to include it in our arsenal. And ultimately, we fail to diversify.

Brand bias is so short-sighted that it inevitably results in the downfall of that individual or the company they are representing. When you resist embracing and adopting other innovations based entirely on what you’ve heard or what mob mentality has led you to believe, you end up denying yourself the opportunity to wield the power of all the combined creativity of different providers.

Innovation is at its best when leveraged as the sum of the parts of various development efforts and approaches. While you should be cautious of excessive diversification, you should never shy away from interoperability between various products developed by various vendors. It can prove to be a differentiator and a leg up on your competition.

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