I recently wrote in my EMC internal blog about transparency. My goal was to demonstrate that while opening yourself, your product, and your organization to the world (or at least the company) might be risky, there was inherent risk in sitting out while others did it. In fact, I used a very similar argument when describing to a friend why I was starting this blog.
There’s a quiet assumption in that, which I didn’t realize until I started listening to and reading the feedback I was getting. I’m assuming that the motion I’m seeing is progressive – that we as a company (and industry, and culture) are moving in a direction where further transparency on a personal and institutional level are inevitable. In other words, I’m assuming this isn’t a fad.
I received some pretty heartfelt feedback, talking about the increased risks of individuals making terrible mistakes in front of thousands of people, limiting or even ending their careers. The permanence of this medium is not lost on anyone. In a heated moment, you can post a message, and a decade from now your next employer can find it by Googling you.
Why would people open themselves up to that kind of risk?
I take a different view, obviously. I’m thinking in terms of a much less drastic type of Career Limiting Move, one that follows the concept of opportunity cost. The opportunities I would lose by “waiting and seeing” seem to me to offset the risk I incur by engaging instead of lurking.
Maybe some Vice President will see my blog and take offense at something I’m doing, and he’ll run me out of the company for it. Then again, maybe I’ll expand my network by an order of magnitude, connect with people driving the future of the industry, and gain a new understanding of the strategy and vision behind the company, leading to untold new opportunities.
Maybe the truth is somewhere between those two.