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Personal Blogging

It's been requested of me, and I will comply immediately, that I limit my commentary on Apple-related items. It's only fair - things I say could be misconstrued or taken out of context, and in the end, may in some small way harm a company I love dearly. As such, I have no issue or problem limiting my commentary on Apple-related items.

Frankly, I'm not sure why anyone visits my site. I'm glad people do - I like discussion, I like meeting new people, and I've gotten quite a bit of both from my blog. I hope that does not change, as I've got several categories that haven't got the slightest thing in the world to do with my favorite computer company but are still filled with all sorts of juicy tidbits about thwarting counterfeiters and dating in the 2000s. 🙂

23 Responses to "Personal Blogging"

  1. Requested by whom? And for what reason? I'm guessing you mean by people at Apple, and that seems seriously warped to me ... just because you work there now means you can't give commentary?

    --Nick

  2. dude, that's one of the reasons i visit your blog. intelligent apple blogging. and the other cool stuff, like the counterfeiting adventure. but i guess it's one of the hazards of working for a cool computer company. a co-worker of mine was fired for blog-whining about our company, so i guess these things have to be.

  3. Well, daniel, if that's only "one of the reasons" and not "the only reason," then you're welcome to continue to visit. And Nick, c'mon, you know better. I plan to read carefully my papers, and whatever I sign of course, but I've often found in life that the people walking on that thin line hurt their feet if they even manage to stay on it at all.

  4. I don't know, I think that is kind of shitty that Apple would do that to you.

    They are out in the public, you should be able to comment about their products. Just because you are an employee doesn't mean you don't have a right to voice your opinion about the company.

    Obviously speculation may be limited, due to your "insider" information, but that doesn't mean they have a right to prevent you from commenting all together.

  5. Etan: yes, it does mean they have the right. If I sign a paper saying I agree to it as a condition of employment, then they have every right.

    And like I said, better safe than sorry, so I'll most likely go above and beyond what would normally be considered safe simply so I don't have to worry about whether something I'm writing is "ok" or not. It will all be "ok" in any extreme.

  6. I know better than what?

    I guess I didn't state my actual position in enough detail. I think they're certainly within their rights to ask you not to post about them, and I certainly can't fault you for being careful.

    What seems odd to me is that they just flat-out say that you shouldn't write about them at all. It should be pretty clear to any reasonably intelligent person what's safe to say and what isn't, and just because you're going to be privy to sensitive information and have an insider's view doesn't mean that you're going to cease to know public information and have your own views.

    That's all ... I don't at all mind the idea of being careful, just the idea that you flat out have to stop talking about a subject that's clearly important to you.

    That said, I suppose this level of crackdown/paranoia/distrust of employees is why Apple manages to keep its secrets so well.

    --Nick

  7. At least they asked you nicely.

    A friend of mine was burned rather badly when he used a company logo on a personal site. They brought him in and said if you were a full employee you would be fired. (The real good cop bad cop type treatment.

    He thought it was very funny, and said he would never again work there. (after his internship was completed) Still scary stuff.

    Your right, you did sign your life away on that NDA.. so there is really nothing you can do about it.

  8. Glad to hear you're staying on the air, so to speak. I first learned your name though your Mac writings some years back, I've enjoyed read this weblog even more than the occassional article.

    It's a tough line to walk when you work in and write about an industry. Personally, I agree 100% with your decision and your point of view.

  9. Just a thought on what Nick's saying - if companies try using "common sense" to dictate which employees can and can't post online or write or talk about, it could make it difficult to punish those who post things that are truly harmful for the company.

  10. Erik, I hope you can continue to blog about Cocoa in particular, as that's really interesting. Maybe you ought to cut back in terms of talking about the ITMS, upcoming products, etc, but you can obviously talk about things like Finder bugs right? I dunno. I guess you need to choose where to draw the line, and from your posts, it sounds like you might go (in my opinion) too far =/.

    Oh well, a blog is a personal thing, so do what you will, and good luck.

  11. Eric makes a good point, and fundamentally, I actually agree. People who know me know that I tend to think that most people aren't willing of trust and won't necessarily do the right thing.

    Still, doesn't mean it doesn't irk me that those people who can be trusted suffer for it.

    --Nick

  12. Erik,

    While I agree that Apple has the right to let you go unless you comply with their wishes, my feeling is that what they are doing is actually worse for Apple. By stifling the conversation between dedicated employees who love the company and dedicated customers who love the company, Apple creates the impression that they don't want the truth about their company known.

    I'm not speaking here of secrets necessary to the successful operation of Apple. No one is suggesting that you would betray your employer that way.

    I would look at it this way. If what you want to say is something you would say even if you didn't have the advantage of working for Apple, then Apple should allow, and in fact, encourage you to say it. If what you want to say originates from inside knowledge that Apple hasn't released to the public, well, you weren't going to pubish such items anyway.

    Yes, you may say something perfectly innocent of any trade secret revelation that hurts the company, but not participating in the conversation definately hurts the company.

    I don't know if you were approached on this issue by an immediate supervisor or someone from the PR department or what, but if you have a chance, you might want to take a look at http://www.cluetrain.com/. It's not a short read, and in fact is a complete book, but it has a direct bearing on your situation.

    Chuck

  13. "It goes without saying" (though I'm saying it here) that I wouldn't give away any "secret" or "unannounced" things. So it went without saying it, but because some of you seem to think that's what I'm talking about, I'm saying it now. These "secrets" are not at all a part of this discussion because I'd never give those away and I never have. So for me, it went without saying.

    What's at issue is, in fact, discussion of the company and publicly released "things," like my comments on the iTunes Music Store. Imagine I said "I don't like the Finder much" (which is untrue - I like it). Some journalist or even a few customers could take that to mean "The Finder is Crap, Says Apple Employee" in some bold-faced headline somewhere.

    It has nothing to do with an "honest discussion" - I'll continue to have them with my friends and family - because as much as this whole blogging thing can lead to discussions, it can also lead to one-sided "let's quote this guy" stuff. That's not a discussion, and so, on company-related issues, I won't continue to have "discussions" here in public view where they can easily be distorted, misinterpreted, and taken out of context. The risk is perhaps too great.

    This blog is currently licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows people to take anything as long as they attribute me. It would be very easy for something - again having nothing to do with a "secret" - to come back to hurt the company.

    David Hyatt has a blog. In fact, he has two. One is for "here's something new I did with Safari" and the other is "here's what I think of American Idol." In other words, one is very "cheery" when it comes to the company, the other is completely devoid of anything Apple.

    So to Steve, you know, you're right. I might take it too far. "Better safe than sorry" though. You want my personal opinion on something? IM me. Just don't publish our conversation anywhere.

  14. Thats kind of too bad. I really enjoyed your writing on Apple's products. I think you gave a fair and balanced view. Oh well.

  15. Regrettable.

  16. i-ro-ny ( P )

    n. pl. i-ro-nies

    -Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs

    _________

    The funny part (for me) is that of all your posts regarding Apple this is the one that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  17. Weird. However did they learn that sensitive discussions were going on over here, I wonder. Is someone keeping tabs that closely?

  18. Michael: does that matter? It's a public web site. Search Google for Erik J. Barzeski and you get this site first. It ain't hard to find! 🙂

  19. I usually try to steer away from anything work related when I write in my blog, but then, that's damn well near impossible since I'm a writer. Although I also work for the same employer as Erik, and don't make many comments about the job that pays me regularly. 🙂 I did make a comment a few days ago, but call it a momentary lapse.

  20. Not a bit. I'm just curious how it might have happened. Of course, you haven't actually said Apple initiated this; maybe your girlfriend said it was a good idea. In the case that it was Apple: The tiny gnomes who inhabit my brain haven't been able to reach a consensus on the merits of the policy.

  21. That really is too bad. I knwo that Apple is certainly within their rights on this but I think it a bad decision.

    What I can't help thinking is how much abuse MS would have taken if one of their employees had mad a similar post - it would probably be a /. entry 🙂

    I agree with the above, of all the things about Apple ont his blog, the only thing that makes me think less about them as a company is this.

  22. It should not make anyone think less of anything. You have to realize the logic and reasoning behind this. I haven't got a moral or any other issue with it - I agree with it and comply wholeheartedly, not because I was told, but because I think it's the right thing to do.

  23. Frankly, I'm not sure why anyone visits my site.

    Because you keep IMing me and telling me to read every article you post 🙂


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