Friday, March 25, 2005

The Art of War: Name Dropping Executives

So, I'm in a meeting (i.e. wasting valuable time) and I'm there because I'm the company's only CISSP. (certified security professional) The new marketing Director is discussing how to sell our product to a potential big customer, by pushing something we don't have in the system. I state that that would be deceptive and I couldn't be part of it. She states that we plan to put in the feature, and that this is only positioning, not deception.

I state that unless they are told up front that this is a function "in the works" rather than supported, I won't help. She then comes out with "well, you obviously don't know how to sell." I state, "obviously, thank god." She then states, "in sales, you have to understand the proper use of positioning what the product can and will do. It's just like what is stated in the Art of War, which obviously you haven't read."

Now, being the second time that someone has dropped the art of war on me as a put down, I blow a gasket. "Really? I have read the seven military classics of china, and I'm quite well versed in them." She says, "I'm talking about Sun Tzu's the Art of War." At which point I want to bang my head on the conference room table.

I then politely explain that Sun Tzu is part of the seven military classics and that she hasn't a clue about what the Art of War is about. And lastly, I stated I won't participate. (I didn't quit, I'm waiting for Monday for that. Heh.)

Why is it that Executive types read a book, and are suddenly experts on a subject? Especially war, which happens to be one of my fascinations. It must be that MBA that makes them decide that they are far more intelligent than the rest of the world.


Granted said...


Any chance there was a video of this because I would pay BIG money to see your face when she tried to drop that little bit on you.

Personally I would have tried the "Oh, The Art of War, are we talking Machiavelli, Jomini, or Sun Tzu?" but I think yours was better.

Boy, oh, boy would I love to have seen that.

Nylarthotep said...

I still have to read Jomini. I've glanced through the copy at project Gutenburg, but I haven't gone all the way through.

I did notice a lot of people avoiding eye contact with me when she started belittling me. But that may have been due to my tone of voice when I started responding.

I read Sun Tzu the first time when I was 19. Didn't get it very well the first time. Now I think I've read it 5 times. I like the clarity and pure ideas that he provides. Machiavelli was just dreadful. I did find Clauswitz interesting, so I'm extra interested in Jomini.

My supervisor told me I should have cut her some slack. I told him I cut her a huge amount of slack. Usually, someone belittling me in public gets torn a new one. Especially when they are obviously clueless. Obviously, I'll never be president. I have a feeling that I turned a couple shades of red or purple.

Maybe I'm just too uptight in meetings.