I am a big fan of just about anything Michael Lewis writes. Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side are all great books that put an irreverent spin on conventional wisdom. In the most recent issue of Conde’ Nast’s Portfolio, Lewis takes a look at how Blain Lourde, a successful Wall Street stock broker, grew disenchanted with the practices of his industry:
“The nicest thing he could say about himself was that he hadn’t broken the law. He hadn’t bankrupted anyone or anything like that. But when he stepped back from his job and really looked at it, he realized that a huge amount of his time and energy went into making people feel happy about his advice when they should have been furious. The problem was the constant tension between company and client, caused by the firm’s inability to know what the market or any particular stock was going to do next. “I always thought there was going to be a place where the client wouldn’t be compromised and the broker wouldn’t be compromised,” he says.”
I read Lewis’ article a few hours reading ZDNet’s “Top 10 Reasons to Avoid IT SalesPeople“. It offers a great account of how skeptical IT buyers are of the Blaine Lourdesque software salespeople. I do not blame them. The proprietary software sales model is built on a weird mix of friction, hope, greed and fear.
Like indexing investments, open source offers a more rational, honest way to succeed in the future. Buyers and sales people are starting to figure it out.