Meet Mr. Ed

My recent column forecasting fading fortunes for Fibre Channel technology provoked a bit of a tempest in the Fibre Channel teapot (see The Fall of Fibre Channel).

Of the messages we received, the following is my favorite. Curiously, it wasn’t sent directly to Byte and Switch, but to a message reflector run by the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA). (Don’t bother trying to join; the reflector isn’t open to people like us.)

One of the FCIA’s members, in the true holiday spirit of pot stirring, forwarded the message in my direction. Here it is, in full:

Wow! Fairly sizzles off the page, don't it?

Now, Mr. Ed here isn’t some flea-bitten Cypress cube monkey (ee! ee! ee!). He’s an applications manager at Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY), in addition to serving as the vice chairman of TC T11 – the committee within the National Committee for Information Technology Standards (NCITS) responsible for Fiber Channel standards.

An Important Fellow, then. With a sensitive stomach.

I found a few things interesting in the message (apart from Ed’s p*tty mouth). For one, I was grateful to Ed for explaining that I work for a “trade rage.” I think that’s much more impressive than working for a business and technology publication, don’t you? (I’m now debating whether to have business cards reprinted with the title "Founding Rager.")

But what’s even more intriguing is the distribution on Ed’s message. Check out the list of people that Ed cc’d on his message – a veritable Who’s Who of the Fibre Channel world.

You wouldn’t guess it from the salutation – "To my Fibre Channel associates" – but some of these companies are supposed to be competitors. I’m sure their respective stockholders think they are fighting each other for revenues, red in tooth and claw. But in the clubby atmosphere of the Fibre Channel vendors’ world, such collegial bonhomie is not unusual – it’s the norm.

In fact, this sort of "co-opetition" has been going on for as long as I can remember, all the way back to the formation of the FCIA. Instead of establishing an ombudsman for users’ interests, vendors set up the FCIA as an exercise in not rocking the boat, instead setting the shortest course for profitability they could chart. The almost total lack of dialectic that resulted meant that full interoperability, which was one of the group’s purported objectives, has never been achieved.

Comes the Avalanche

So what sort of reaction did Ed manage to stir up with his message to the FCIA members? Not much. The message boards attached to the original column generated 28 messages on Byte and Switch, another 15 on its sister publication, Light Reading.

The messages on the boards can be divided into four roughly equal groups: Group 1 strongly disagreed with the premise of the column. Group 2 agreed with the column. Group 3 were neutral, sort of. And Group 4 used the boards to talk about totally unrelated topics.

There were a couple of gems. I particularly enjoyed the one from a cerebrally limited McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDT) employee, who wrote to tell us he thought the article was completely biased… in favor of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)! No kiddin'. Check it out: Fall of FC?

I also received five emails from people who wanted to let me know that they agreed with the column but were worried Ed would raise a gun-totin’ posse and come after them if they said so in public.

OK, I made the last bit up.

While Ed’s call to action didn’t have much effect, it was certainly valuable in providing a behind-the-scenes look into the way the Fibre Channel community goes about its business.

So, as Jerry Springer would say:

What did we learn here today?

Well, children, we learned that Ed thinks my opinions are "a pack of s**t." (Thankfully, he didn't modify it with "steaming." That would have been childish.)

But what’s truly important to Fibre Channel customers is:

Should you happen to have questions about the merits of FC-versus-IP, will he treat your opinions with the same respect?

— Stephen Saunders, Founding Rager, Light Reading
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
MNewsom 12/4/2012 | 7:24:06 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed Rage on, you crazy diamond! Also, what's this business about a "rebuttle?"
Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 7:24:11 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed actually, I didn't "expose" the email addresses.

Ed Grivna did that when he posted them to a public reflector.

gardner 12/4/2012 | 7:24:12 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed
This is my last posting. Feel free to delete this with your dailiy house-cleaning of message-string censorship.

And whom does this hurt? You are silencing yourself here but I bet you'll tell all your friends that you were "censored" by Steve Saunders. This is lame.
pablo 12/4/2012 | 7:24:12 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed ...that's what these boards are, regularly. :-)

What's the big surprise? We all know controversy sells, and that Light Reading has very successfully introduced that and other elements that, while widespread everwhere else, somehow are new to high tech. And we're *suckers* for it, and thusly flock to LR to (1) read industry news, and (2) be entertained.

There's nothing in Mr Sanders' original article on FC that is out of line. It contains the usual mix of factual information blended with personal opinion and speculation.

This reminds me about the big stink with the core router tests. Journalists can, should and will write whatever they please. Seemingly, the high tech industry is not used to dealing with that. The reactions some marketing departments feel compelled to express are way too gutural and impulsive. Kinda prima-donnaish. And entertaining, unless you're a shareholder and worry about disservice to the public image such diatribes could easily produce.

My advice: from a PR point of view, any publicity is better than no publicity whatsoever. I'd rather have LR slam my company in one article rather than have them ignore it altogether.

gardner 12/4/2012 | 7:24:13 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed ummmm.....sure, steve, neither confrontation nor sarcastic...then again, nothing you have ever written is that way, right?

Hmm. A confrontational, sarcastic response to Steve Saunders' rather straightforward and non-confrontational response.

still feel great about revealing the e-mail addresses of people who signed up for the deflector NOT to be part of your scalding article on Ed, but instead to be part of the deflector?

Did you perhaps miss the fact that it is public? And by the way, it is "reflector" not "deflector".
A word to the wise: not only is it unwise to pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the gallon it is also unwise to pick a verbal fight when you don't have a firm grasp of the language. Sheesh. Engineers: Are they all 800M 250V on their SATs?

For the record I thought the Mr. Ed article was a little over the top and I would have counted to 10 before publishing it had I been Steve Saunders but I don't understand all the vitriol that is being spewed here. So Steve Saunders let his bruised ego show a little. So what? He would have been better off and the article would have stung more had he toned it down a bit but I don't see the reason for such emotionalism over it. I guess I just don't understand how you people can get so torked up about stuff. Just because Steve let himself go ballistic doesn't mean that you have to. How can you chide someone for having a bruised ego when your own ego is so obviously in an uproar? Sheesh you guys. Cut back on the caffeine and go home and have some nice tryptophan laden turkey with the family. You'll feel a lot better.
Say Uncle 12/4/2012 | 7:24:23 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed So the answer is yes: you don't give two craps about the privacy of people who in this case, subscribed to a deflector. "Public" in this case does not mean that its subscribers are seeking public profile - it means that it can be subscribed to by the public...This is not a subtle difference, Stephen.

Forget it - I'm not going to argue with you. You have set a disturbing precedent for dragging unwitting members of industry into your cross-hairs, and don't really seem to care.

This is my last posting. Feel free to delete this with your dailiy house-cleaning of message-string censorship.
Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 7:24:24 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed I answered your question yesterday.

Say Uncle 12/4/2012 | 7:24:26 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed ummmm.....sure, steve, neither confrontation nor sarcastic...then again, nothing you have ever written is that way, right?

still feel great about revealing the e-mail addresses of people who signed up for the deflector NOT to be part of your scalding article on Ed, but instead to be part of the deflector?

stop avoiding the question - so you think you've accomplished alot by exposing those e-mails?

you are a demi-god...
hershey123 12/4/2012 | 7:24:26 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed Wow, I knew LR and B&S were tabloid websites, but I never thought I'd see a column like this. Even a slow news week wouldn't justify the kind of cheezy journalism they've stooped to. Get a life, Saunders.
Say Uncle 12/4/2012 | 7:24:30 PM
re: Meet Mr. Ed >> How can you have privacy on a public reflector?

Can't have it both ways.


Steve - have you ever spent more than a nanosecond dialoguing with someone in a non-sarcastic or non-confrontational way?
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Sign In