More FUD for Thought

Get it? FUD for thought… I kill me.

I was all fired up and started writing some stuff up about FUD, and why you shouldn’t do it, and what not.

So I started writing, and it felt really familiar, like I read it somewhere else… so I did some searches for key phrases and turned up this post on not resorting to FUD. It quotes me… talking about FUD in my forthcoming book.

I just totally almost plagiarized myself. Here what I had to say about FUD:

FUD stands for “fear, uncertainty and doubt.” Though the phrase was coined in the mid 1970’s, the concept has been around since the first caveman traded a rock to another one “in case the mastodons come back.” More recently it’s been marketers, public relations flacks, and sales guys who use this on you. Basically, the idea is to tell you something that will make you afraid of a rival’s tool, enough so that you invest with the FUD’er.

At a smaller level, this happens in the workplace a lot. Developers with experience with proprietary tools spread rumors about crazy license implications of open source tools. Open source adherents spread horror stories of hidden code in proprietary tool kits.

It’s ultimately self-defeating. At best it can win people some sort of short term gains, but in the long term, it is a road to nowhere. Eventually people wise up to be bullied repeatedly and some people speak out. This spread of information inoculates the rest and the technique becomes ineffective. [from chapter “Create Trust“]

I stand by that. FUD does ruin credibility. It hurts you, it hurts your listeners. Even if your product is better, talk about why your product is better, not why the other guy’s is worse.

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