Back in July 2006, Brian Madden made a number of recommendations to Citrix about how to make things better. One of the key recommendations was to allow employees to start blogging. Before this, Citrix effectively banned employees from blogging. Even though several people were interested, Citrix had a policy against it.
Brian summarized why it was important to blog:
Citrix is pretty much the only remaining software company that doesn’t let its employees blog. Setting up a blog would be fast and easy. Why would a blog help? It would let the actual employees who are having cool thoughts share them with the industry.
Take Microsoft for example. They have thousands and thousands of bloggers. As an example of what blogs can do, let’s look at the blog of just one group: the Excel product group. This blog shows that Microsoft is a thought leader in the spreadsheet space. They’re talking about the future of spreadsheets, conversations about user experience, getting feedback, etc. If I want to find the “pulse” of the spreadsheet world or if I want to learn about how Microsoft is clued in to spreadsheets, I can do that.
With Citrix? No such luck.
Brian’s line of thinking basically suggested a new model of dealing with the world:
At the CTP meeting last week I was discussing the lack of blogs with some Citrix folks, and one of the responses was, “Well you know, it takes people to manage the blog. You have to make sure that what is written is okay.”
I jumped on this saying, “No, no, no! You don’t get it. Do not edit the blogs!”
The Citrix employee went on to say, “Well, you have to monitor them to make sure that there is no comment spam or profanity.”
Ugh! Is this really the reason that Citrix is not blogging? Of course not. Everyone knows that there are technologies to combat both comment spam and profanity. The real reason that Citrix doesn’t blog is because they’re afraid of letting go, control-wise.
Of course my true fear here is that Citrix will start blogging soon, but that they’ll do a half-assed job and mess it up. Citrix is really good at announcing stuff to quiet the critics but then not really following through.
If Citrix lets their employees blog, they cannot censor or modify what they say. Sure it’s important to ensure that no private intellectual property gets out there, but that’s something the company has to do anyway. I can foresee Citrix coming down on employees who don’t toe the party line, but I’m hoping that Citrix will instead provide raw access to the thinkers within the company.
This was very insightful. Citrix needed to open the doors and have its employees participate with the market on the Internet. There was an initial sense of losing control when the blogs first started but once they got going it became clear that it was going to work and would be very useful to everyone involved.
I am bringing this up since I believe that Brian Madden’s insights are still relevant to how Citrix deals with the world. The new Citrix Blog site has to remember what it is there for and make sure it is meant for a gateway between employees, customers, and the bridges between them.
Personally, I would credit Brian with being the visionary of getting Citrix blogging started. I would even go so far to give him the title “Idea founder”.
The reaction after Brian’s post was fairly swift. Within two months the go ahead for Citrix blogging had occurred. I started blogging in September 2006. Since then I have submitted almost 200 posts with a fair amount of those related to Citrix history. I had always wanted to write but really had no avenue to do so.
Looking back, I just wanted to thank Brian Madden for speaking his mind about this. Without it, Citrix blogging probably would not have started as soon or with such widespread interest.