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without access, I can’t help you August 10, 2009

Posted by That Guy in A Very Corporate Something, Technology Trouble.
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On Friday, I got a call from one of our ad-server clients asking me why ads weren’t serving to a specific page on their site. I went into the ad server and made sure the ads were scheduled properly — they were — but the client wouldn’t give me access to their web server so I had no way of testing things on their side. I had to go through their outsourced tech support department, rather than deal with someone at their office. I e-mailed my ticket to them and waited.

It turns out someone at the tech support department — who has access to the ad server — had changed the ads after I checked them. Naturally.

Go ahead. Try to get through. If you really need to, I guarantee you can't. (CC-licensed photo by helena.40proof)

Go ahead. Try to get through. If you really need to, I guarantee you can't. (CC-licensed photo by helena.40proof)

The problem here, though, is that we are so enamored of our walled gardens and our intellectual properties and our copyrights that we won’t give even temporary access to people who can help us. I read an article recently — which I will expound upon on a later date — about how clamping down on all of our company’s intellectual property when we have a new idea is a terrible way to do business.

Secrecy, though, is the watchword. We’re scared to death that someone’s going to steal our idea and make money on it. Well, guess what: if you don’t talk to other people about your idea, someone who can actually help you won’t be able to make your idea better, and which would you rather do: pay someone a few grand now, or lose millions when Google buys their version because it was better and you didn’t listen?

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