Blog Wars

I woke up this morning and found Mark over at Salesforcewatch.com having a little fun at trying to figure out who I was.

It definitely made me laugh and I like the creativity - especially using an AppExchange tool to do it. It'll be pretty interesting to see the results.

But then, of course, I started wondering about what happens if it clearly points to my actual identity.

I've addressed the anonymity question in response to a few comments from Saul and others. Some have decided to swear off my site all together due to the fact I wish to remain anonymous - and I'm OK with that. But I haven't written in my blog as a post why I'm anonymous, and what happens when I'm no longer anonymous.

First, why I'm anonymous. In an ideal world, I'd be completely free to talk about whatever I want to talk about. Clearly, this is not an ideal world. I can't talk about things that aren't public knowledge for instance - especially because we're a public company. If I came out with all the news and gossip I hear on a day to day basis, I'd be fired. Period. Then the SEC puts me in jail. And rightly so - my obligation as an employee of salesforce.com is to not cross that line. It's simply proof that we're not free to talk about everything - even though that's almost certainly the most interesting stuff.

Removing the confidential information from the conversation, all we're left with are ideas, opinions, and speculation. I'd like the freedom to disagree with everyone - all the way up to Marc. If I thought buying Sendia was a moronic move (I don't), I'd want to feel free to say that. If I think we're messing up, I'd like to feel free to publicly shout that out. If I think execs should be replaced, I want to feel free to express that. Saul and Kingsley say that they feel free to write whatever they want. I do not.

Let's say that I thought Marc should step down as head chef. Let be me clear, I think that's a horrible idea, Marc is a great leader and the right guy for the job. But let's say I did think that... and I was so passionate about it that I wrote about it in my blog. If it turned out my true identity was one of Marc's subordinates and he knew it - I'd be fired... or at least be sporting a very big black eye. So my choices would be, either not say anything because my identity was public, or take the black eye...

Now I'm a passionate person, but my financial advisor would probably recommend against risking my career by getting on my soap box with a name tag on. And this not only goes for posts I've already made - but also posts that I haven't made yet. It's the future posts that I'm most concerned about.

That's the main reason I stay anonymous. I'm not doing it to be mysterious - I'm doing it so I can truly speak my mind as freely as I legally can. Is who I am a mystery that can be solved? Probably. Do I wish people would try? No. Are people going to try anyway? Yes.

So what happens if and when my identity is revealed? If I'm the one revealing, nothing - it'll be my choice. If I'm outed, I'll probably just delete the blog and maybe later start a new one that's just not anonymous but filtered... though I admit the appeal of that is zero for me. Does that make me chicken? No. I made the choice to be anonymous when I started this blog, and I'm going to stick to it. If this blog is no longer anonymous, it no longer serves its purpose to me.

If I can't write an unfiltered blog, this blog won't be interesting for me or, I'd suspect, the majority of my readers - because then this truly would be yet another salesforce.com employee blog.


Blogger Chris said...

It's okay, Tom - when you write a book as popular as "Salesforce.com for Dummies", it's understandable why you'd want to keep your anonymity.

(just trying to stir the pot a little :-P)

5/02/2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Heretic said...

Though out of respect for your wishes I have no plans to publically state who I may think you are, but it is kinda fun to say who you're not. Marc Benioff for example. (Serious lack of "Aloah" or other Hawiian references for one.) :D

I must admit though it is an interesting intellectual game to figure out who you are...

5/02/2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Kingsley said...


5/04/2006 2:40 PM  

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