Debating Salesforce.com

Fellow Irregulars Josh Greenbaum and Jason Wood have drawn swords over Josh’s Salesforce.com predictions.

Josh Greenbaum:

"So how can I be sure that Salesforce.com is the next Siebel? To be sure, I’m more ahead of the curve today than I was in 2002. By the time my second column had come out on Siebel’s survey hooey, the wheels were already falling off. Whereas SF.com probably has a couple of good quarters left in it."

Jason Wood:

"Taking credit for calling Siebel’s demise in "mid-2002" is akin to declaring Joe Montana was a talented QB on the day of his Hall of Fame induction. For those with neither the energy nor preclusion to look back at the state of Siebel five years ago, allow me:"

Josh Greenbaum (response to Jason):

So bear in mind I didn’t say SFDC’s business looked bad today – I may be a curmudgeon but I’m not delusional – but I still maintain that all the measures with which Jason concludes his blog will start to turn around soon. When? I’m not a short-seller, but I would say that 12 months from now would be a good time to revisit this exchange and see who was right.

We, as a group, have struggled with how to deliver a public community experience that would bring more people in while at the same time creating a more persistent archive of the online debate. We have been struggling to get momentum on this front but are committed to seeing this through.

Part of the challenge we face is technology platform, the other one we face is how to, if at all, synchronize a group of loosely coupled independent thinkers who are not working from an editorial agenda or in a moderated forum. The debate between Josh and Jason illustrates that there is a powerful dynamic in these debates that comes from looking at problems, challenges, and hypothesizes from the many disciplines and experiences represented in the group – hypothesis, antithesis, and then synthesis.

The debate also serves as evidence of a vibrant and passionate debate that is happening on a day-to-day basis in this group, often out of view and with a lot of "not bloggable" commentary by participants but commentary nonetheless that makes the group richer as a result.

The fact that there is "not bloggable" comments is a good thing because it delivers on one of the original motivations for continuing this social experiment, that in a confined group with members who respect each other’s intellect and integrity that you could drop the company name from your title and talk about things without regard for competitive dynamics or fear for sensitive comments being made public. Quite frankly there are few places on the Internet where this open and honest debate occurs among competitors.

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that what started as a group with a lot of SAP people has evolved into broader industry participation, including Salesforce.com and Oracle members.

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