Resist FUD, Lure of Hype

Don't listen to naysayers who'll try to sell you on what their products can do for you now. Hold out for that golden prize that's coming-sometime.

Ive got a column that youre just gonna love. It will change the way you work and make you much more productive—and happy. In fact, this column is so important and useful that you should probably refrain from reading other columns, which may distract you and prevent you from getting the most out of my column.

I probably wont finish writing this column until later this year, probably midsummer or so. But you should start getting ready for that column now because youll need to be prepared to quickly read and understand it when it comes out.

I must re-emphasize the importance of not reading any other columns in the meantime. Sure, theyre available, but by reading them, you could learn something that would be incorrect. This could put you behind other IT pros and cost you money because youll have to forget what those other columns said and spend time understanding mine. And, as we all know, time is money.

Ill give you a chance to look at early samples, or "betas," of my column. Youll be able to read about great ideas that will change your life. And if theres anything in these betas you dont like, dont worry; it will be gone by the time my column is officially released.

Some competing columnists are accusing me of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt, of trying to downplay their current offerings while hyping a vapor column that will never live up to expectations if it ever gets finished. Jealousy is so unbecoming, dont you think? Those columnists only wish they had adopted my approach, which is based on rock-solid strategies that have been proved in the marketplace.

Look at Microsoft. It recently announced that it will release a new service pack for Windows XP sometime in mid-2004. This is to ensure everyone knows how great this new service pack will be, with new features and security improvements that will make everyone run out and get Windows XP now and dump older Windows and competing operating systems. This will solve that sticky problem of less-than-stellar sales of Windows XP.

Microsoft didnt worry about being accused of spreading FUD for announcing a service pack at least seven months before it comes out. And it didnt care that it looks kind of strange to release betas of service packs, which it did late last year. And Microsoft didnt mind hyping a forthcoming service pack with lots of new features after previously stating that service packs should just have fixes and security patches in them. As Spider-Man might say, "A foolish consistency is the Green Goblin of little guys."

This strategy is a proven winner. Sure, some customers know enough not to give in to FUD and hype. They know that, while they should be aware of forthcoming products and technologies, they should base their plans and projects on stable products that are shipping. They know they should never hold back a project based on something that might happen in the future.

However, these customers are a distinct minority. There are many more customers that will freeze out of fear of looking bad down the road. They will hold back projects or migrations to new systems until the hyped product comes out. And then, if things dont work out, they can blame the FUD and hype.

Its a win-win situation, both for those spreading FUD and those giving in to it. I dont see why theres so much negativity about it. Just saying "FUD" brings to mind a lovable cartoon character, who might say, "Ill get you, you wascally competing companies, wid weal useful pwoducts now!"

So dont listen to naysayers wholl try to sell you on what their products can do for you now. Hold out for that golden prize thats coming—sometime. Theres every reason to expect it will be better than this current stuff. And if its not, it wont be your fault.

And keep an eye out for that great column Ill be writing later this year. It will knock your socks off. Just wait patiently and avoid other columns. You should have it by midsummer or sometime in the fall. Or no later than the end of the year, I promise.

eWEEK Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at