A bad case of “vendor Stockholm syndrome”!

I thought you might like to hear  this amusing little conversation I overheard at the conference I was speaking at yesterday.

A couple of delegates were sitting in the cafe area discussing my presentation.  The first was clearly very excited about the new approach to workplace learning I had been talking about, and I heard her say “I wish I had asked Jane what new vendors she would recommend we work with”.

Nonchalantly sipping her coffee, the second one replied, “You don’t need new vendors; your existing ones can help you do all that”.

The first one looked at her, and said, “But this new approach clearly requires a completely different mindset from that held by the vendors I know”.

To which the second one answered, “Well our vendor partners have already told us that our organisation is  not ready for all this social stuff yet, and they will help us transition to it slowly over the next five years, after they’ve helped us get all our content online.”

The first one looked at her in astonishment.  “Five years?” she queried. “Surely, we’ll all be onto the next thing by then”.  She then paused before she added, “Sounds like you are suffering from a bad case of Stockholm syndrome”.

To which the second one asked, “What’s that?”

“Look it up!” the first one said, “On Wikipedia!” and promptly changed the topic.

Here is the first sentence of Wikipedia’s definition of Stockholm syndrome:

“In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.”

4 thoughts on “A bad case of “vendor Stockholm syndrome”!

  1. Ben Werdmuller

    Wow. There’s simply no alternative to having people in your organization who understand both web technologies and evolving web culture, who are empowered to be part of the decision-making process. The alternative is that vendors – hardly disinterested parties – get to make your decisions for you.

    Required reading for anyone implementing new technology (either making it or buying it) is Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup. It’s not just for startups: his approach of testing assumptions using the scientific method and starting early but taking lots of iterative steps over time is right on the money.

    1. Anonymous

      Thanks Ben, the book sounds very interesting. It’s now on my reading list once it’s published in the UK

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