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The risk of trust

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  • Manuel Klimek
    Trust seems to be a very important concept in Agile development. A question that is currently on my mind is how to quantify the risk involved with trust. Let s
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 16, 2007
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      Trust seems to be a very important concept in Agile development. A question that
      is currently on my mind is how to quantify the risk involved with
      trust. Let's imagine
      a business-to-business company that has a few big customers. In those cases
      the "industry standard" is certainly all but transparency, which would
      require or
      build up trust. If this company would become more transparent in order to gain
      trust of their customers, perhaps even have customers on-site to be
      integrated into
      the story-prioritizing process, how do you know you can trust those customers?

      Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the knowledge to
      boost a direct competitor. The customer may apply pressure to favor
      "his" stories
      over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
      issues other
      customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product, even if
      those issues would be unique to the other customer.

      From this point of view becoming more transparent seems very risky. Thoughts?

      Manuel

      --
      http://klimek.box4.net
    • Tim Dugan
      Interesting...I was just reading on the topic of trust...a Stephen Covey book, http://www.speedoftrust.com/ He analyzes and breaks trust down into
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 16, 2007
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        Interesting...I was just reading on the topic of trust...a Stephen Covey
        book, http://www.speedoftrust.com/



        He analyzes and breaks "trust" down into components, including risks of
        trusting or not...



        I think, though...trust between Agile team members is a more relevant
        issue than trust of the customer.



        Tim Dugan | PROS | Real-Time Technical Lead, Product Development

        ________________________________

        From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Manuel Klimek
        Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 2:39 PM
        To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [XP] The risk of trust



        Trust seems to be a very important concept in Agile development. A
        question that
        is currently on my mind is how to quantify the risk involved with
        trust. Let's imagine
        a business-to-business company that has a few big customers. In those
        cases
        the "industry standard" is certainly all but transparency, which would
        require or
        build up trust. If this company would become more transparent in order
        to gain
        trust of their customers, perhaps even have customers on-site to be
        integrated into
        the story-prioritizing process, how do you know you can trust those
        customers?

        Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the knowledge
        to
        boost a direct competitor. The customer may apply pressure to favor
        "his" stories
        over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
        issues other
        customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product, even
        if
        those issues would be unique to the other customer.

        From this point of view becoming more transparent seems very risky.
        Thoughts?

        Manuel

        --
        http://klimek.box4.net <http://klimek.box4.net>





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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chris Wheeler
        ... Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people don t do these no-no s. ... I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 16, 2007
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          On Nov 16, 2007 3:39 PM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:

          > Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the knowledge to
          > boost a direct competitor.


          Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people don't
          do these no-no's.


          > The customer may apply pressure to favor
          > "his" stories
          > over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
          > issues other
          > customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product, even if
          > those issues would be unique to the other customer.


          I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great thing - wouldn't
          this make you more competitive in attempting to gain your customer's
          business?

          Chris.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Manuel Klimek
          Chris, thanks for your thoughts. I have problems to really understand them, though. Perhaps I ll try to make the example more concrete: Let s assume we have
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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            Chris,

            thanks for your thoughts. I have problems to really understand them, though.

            Perhaps I'll try to make the example more concrete:
            Let's assume we have three companies, A1, A2, A3, which sale software
            products to three different companies B1, B2 and B3, which themselves sell
            products from all As to C1, C2 and C3. Now there's a situation in which all
            As are not transparent - there's security involved, and there's a lot
            of competition
            between the As and the Bs as well. The Bs try to gain market share by
            offering "exclusive" features and services to the Cs, which they want to have
            exclusively from the As.

            Now what can happen when A1 decides to become more transparent: for
            example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all
            open issues, under terms of an NDA.

            Now what if B1 for example sees a problem in the defect tracking system,
            and B1 is selling more products from A2 anyway at the moment. B1 may
            go to the end customers C and ask them "if they knew that A1 has a major
            defect with regards to feature XYZ?". Even if they signed an NDA, I'd expect
            such a case would be hard to prove, and it might get B1 an advantage over
            B2, which is selling mostly products from A1.

            Another problem would be how to handle a situation, where a feature
            was developed exclusively for B2, and B2 doesn't want the other Bs to
            know that they plan to offer that feature to their customers.

            In the end I can't see why the customer behavior would make you more
            competitive. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your post?

            Confused,
            Manuel

            On Nov 16, 2007 10:27 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > On Nov 16, 2007 3:39 PM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:
            >
            > > Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the knowledge to
            > > boost a direct competitor.
            >
            > Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people don't
            > do these no-no's.
            >
            >
            > > The customer may apply pressure to favor
            > > "his" stories
            > > over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
            > > issues other
            > > customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product, even
            > if
            > > those issues would be unique to the other customer.
            >
            > I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great thing - wouldn't
            > this make you more competitive in attempting to gain your customer's
            > business?
            >
            > Chris.
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >



            --
            http://klimek.box4.net
          • Chris Wheeler
            This is real complimicated and I don t know how to weed through this example. It s different than what you originally said, and I m not as interested in it now
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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              This is real complimicated and I don't know how to weed through this
              example. It's different than what you originally said, and I'm not as
              interested in it now that it strays from my original interpretation of your
              words.

              What I was saying is by opening up a company in the way you described makes
              it more competitive and sensitive to customer needs. Turns out though that
              you wanted to talk about more complex situations....


              Chris.

              On Nov 17, 2007 9:56 AM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:

              > Chris,
              >
              > Perhaps I'll try to make the example more concrete:

              > Let's assume we have three companies, A1, A2, A3, which sale software
              > products to three different companies B1, B2 and B3, which themselves sell
              > products from all As to C1, C2 and C3. Now there's a situation in which
              > all
              > As are not transparent - there's security involved, and there's a lot
              > of competition
              > between the As and the Bs as well. The Bs try to gain market share by
              > offering "exclusive" features and services to the Cs, which they want to
              > have
              > exclusively from the As.
              >
              > Now what can happen when A1 decides to become more transparent: for
              > example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all
              > open issues, under terms of an NDA.
              >
              > Now what if B1 for example sees a problem in the defect tracking system,
              > and B1 is selling more products from A2 anyway at the moment. B1 may
              > go to the end customers C and ask them "if they knew that A1 has a major
              > defect with regards to feature XYZ?". Even if they signed an NDA, I'd
              > expect
              > such a case would be hard to prove, and it might get B1 an advantage over
              > B2, which is selling mostly products from A1.
              >
              > Another problem would be how to handle a situation, where a feature
              > was developed exclusively for B2, and B2 doesn't want the other Bs to
              > know that they plan to offer that feature to their customers.
              >
              > In the end I can't see why the customer behavior would make you more
              > competitive. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your post?
              >
              > Confused,
              > Manuel
              >
              > On Nov 16, 2007 10:27 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > On Nov 16, 2007 3:39 PM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > > Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the
              > knowledge to
              > > > boost a direct competitor.
              > >
              > > Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people
              > don't
              > > do these no-no's.
              > >
              > >
              > > > The customer may apply pressure to favor
              > > > "his" stories
              > > > over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
              > > > issues other
              > > > customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product,
              > even
              > > if
              > > > those issues would be unique to the other customer.
              > >
              > > I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great thing -
              > wouldn't
              > > this make you more competitive in attempting to gain your customer's
              > > business?
              > >
              > > Chris.
              > >
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              > http://klimek.box4.net
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
              >
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
              >
              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Oleg Puzanov
              Hi Manuel. ... example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all open issues, under terms of an NDA. Hm. That s some kind of strange
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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                Hi Manuel.

                > Now what can happen when A1 decides to become more transparent: for
                example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all open
                issues, under terms of an NDA.

                Hm. That's some kind of strange non-disclosure agreements letting B1, B2 and
                B3 to see each others activity within one software shop. Or maybe I'm
                misunderstanding something?

                As for me each customer can see dedicated tracing system which provides
                exclusive access for particular customer and developer team.

                Can you provide us with detailed explanation of the "transparent" term you
                mentioned above?

                Cheers.

                --
                Oleg Puzanov, Software Developer


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Manuel Klimek
                Chris, Well, I didn t mean it to be different from what I first wrote, just at a lower level of abstraction... While I m very interested in this at the
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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                  Chris,

                  Well, I didn't mean it to be different from what I first wrote, just
                  at a lower level
                  of abstraction... While I'm very interested in this at the abstract level,
                  I'd expect that the risk only becomes clear in a specific situation.

                  I agree that you'd become more sensitive to customer needs, but the risk
                  I see is that the customer may use this information against you. Since
                  XP seems to propagate a more transparent business, which I find interesting,
                  I'd hoped that some people may have experienced similar skepticism about
                  this idea, and perhaps might share some ideas on how to address those
                  issues.

                  thanks,
                  Manuel


                  On Nov 17, 2007 4:36 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > This is real complimicated and I don't know how to weed through this
                  > example. It's different than what you originally said, and I'm not as
                  > interested in it now that it strays from my original interpretation of your
                  > words.
                  >
                  > What I was saying is by opening up a company in the way you described makes
                  > it more competitive and sensitive to customer needs. Turns out though that
                  > you wanted to talk about more complex situations....
                  >
                  > Chris.
                  >
                  > On Nov 17, 2007 9:56 AM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > Chris,
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Perhaps I'll try to make the example more concrete:
                  >
                  > > Let's assume we have three companies, A1, A2, A3, which sale software
                  > > products to three different companies B1, B2 and B3, which themselves
                  > sell
                  > > products from all As to C1, C2 and C3. Now there's a situation in which
                  > > all
                  > > As are not transparent - there's security involved, and there's a lot
                  > > of competition
                  > > between the As and the Bs as well. The Bs try to gain market share by
                  > > offering "exclusive" features and services to the Cs, which they want to
                  > > have
                  > > exclusively from the As.
                  > >
                  > > Now what can happen when A1 decides to become more transparent: for
                  > > example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all
                  > > open issues, under terms of an NDA.
                  > >
                  > > Now what if B1 for example sees a problem in the defect tracking system,
                  > > and B1 is selling more products from A2 anyway at the moment. B1 may
                  > > go to the end customers C and ask them "if they knew that A1 has a major
                  > > defect with regards to feature XYZ?". Even if they signed an NDA, I'd
                  > > expect
                  > > such a case would be hard to prove, and it might get B1 an advantage over
                  > > B2, which is selling mostly products from A1.
                  > >
                  > > Another problem would be how to handle a situation, where a feature
                  > > was developed exclusively for B2, and B2 doesn't want the other Bs to
                  > > know that they plan to offer that feature to their customers.
                  > >
                  > > In the end I can't see why the customer behavior would make you more
                  > > competitive. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your post?
                  > >
                  > > Confused,
                  > > Manuel
                  > >
                  > > On Nov 16, 2007 10:27 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...>
                  > > wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > On Nov 16, 2007 3:39 PM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@...> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > > Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the
                  > > knowledge to
                  > > > > boost a direct competitor.
                  > > >
                  > > > Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people
                  > > don't
                  > > > do these no-no's.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > > The customer may apply pressure to favor
                  > > > > "his" stories
                  > > > > over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
                  > > > > issues other
                  > > > > customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product,
                  > > even
                  > > > if
                  > > > > those issues would be unique to the other customer.
                  > > >
                  > > > I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great thing -
                  > > wouldn't
                  > > > this make you more competitive in attempting to gain your customer's
                  > > > business?
                  > > >
                  > > > Chris.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > > http://klimek.box4.net
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  > >
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  > >
                  > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                  > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  --
                  http://klimek.box4.net
                • Manuel Klimek
                  Hi Oleg, ... What if one developer team is serving multiple customers. The same code, featuring an exclusive feature for one customer here and there, which is
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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                    Hi Oleg,

                    On Nov 17, 2007 4:48 PM, Oleg Puzanov <puzanov@...> wrote:
                    > As for me each customer can see dedicated tracing system which provides
                    > exclusive access for particular customer and developer team.

                    What if one developer team is serving multiple customers. The same code,
                    featuring an exclusive feature for one customer here and there, which is
                    configured at production time. Do you communicate every problem actively
                    to the customer, or only when the customer reports an issue?

                    > Can you provide us with detailed explanation of the "transparent" term you
                    > mentioned above?

                    I don't know if I use the term correctly, but if I remember correctly, I read
                    it in XP Explained 2. Thanks for this question, it lead me to this interview
                    with Kent Beck:
                    http://www.spamcast.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=258986

                    Manuel

                    --
                    http://klimek.box4.net
                  • Edmund Schweppe
                    ... A couple of thoughts: 1) Most of the time, providing great service to your customers means they want to *stay* your customers. They won t *want* to use
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 17, 2007
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                      Manuel Klimek wrote:

                      > I agree that you'd become more sensitive to customer needs, but the risk
                      > I see is that the customer may use this information against you. Since
                      > XP seems to propagate a more transparent business, which I find interesting,
                      > I'd hoped that some people may have experienced similar skepticism about
                      > this idea, and perhaps might share some ideas on how to address those
                      > issues.

                      A couple of thoughts:

                      1) Most of the time, providing great service to your customers means
                      they want to *stay* your customers. They won't *want* to "use this
                      information against you" because their success depends in part on the
                      great relationship they have with you. There's a great example in Tom
                      Peters' book /Thriving on Chaos/ of how Milliken's textile business won
                      (and kept) Levi Strauss as a customer through a combination of top
                      quality and extreme responsiveness to Levi's needs, to the huge mutual
                      benefit of both sides. (See section C-4 in the book for details.)

                      (/Thriving on Chaos/ was published in *1987*. The odds are pretty good
                      that high-level executives already know this stuff.)

                      2) Trust goes both ways. If a particular customer repeatedly
                      demonstrates that they're not worthy of your trust, you're absolutely
                      entitled to stop trusting them. Yes, firing a customer takes courage;
                      but then, so did trusting them in the first place.

                      --
                      Edmund Schweppe, President
                      Firepool Consulting, Inc. - Effective Software Development
                      (978) 621-7245 - http://www.firepoolconsulting.com
                    • Kent Beck
                      Dear Manuel, It sounds like you are very worried about transparency. It makes sense to me to be careful when changing a fundamental business stance and
                      Message 10 of 10 , Nov 20, 2007
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                        Dear Manuel,

                        It sounds like you are very worried about transparency. It makes sense to me
                        to be careful when changing a fundamental business stance and consider the
                        consequences of the change. I read in your messages that you are trying to
                        be careful (and feeling a bit frightened).

                        Something I stressed in my QCon talk a couple of weeks ago is that I think
                        the rules of the information game have changed. When secrets are easy to
                        keep, keeping secrets is a powerful position. When secrets are hard to keep,
                        keeping secrets is a position of weakness, because you never know when your
                        secret is going to be revealed. However, lots of us have beliefs and habits
                        from the days of easy secrets.

                        If secrets are hard to keep, transparency is the new secret. How can the
                        customer use information against you that you have volunteered? "You had 85
                        defects in the last release!" "Yes, I know, I told you that."

                        I was talking with a very experienced practitioner the other day, a clear
                        thinking guy in most cases. I suggested another level of transparency to him
                        and he said, "My customers would just use the information to try to get me
                        to lower my prices." What I wish I would have said was, "What, you think you
                        charge too much?" If I am comfortable with my prices, then I don't mind
                        being transparent. If a customer says, "But you are charging me for two
                        hours a day when you're not programming," I can take that as an invitation
                        to have a conversation about software development and how it's similar to
                        and different from the customer's business.

                        If it helps, I think many people are struggling with the same issue.
                        Transparency is scary when you grew up believing that secrets were power. I
                        encourage you to try a bit more transparency and see if it helps.

                        Regards,

                        Kent Beck
                        Three Rivers Institute

                        _____

                        From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                        [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Manuel Klimek
                        Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2007 7:50 AM
                        To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [XP] The risk of trust



                        Chris,

                        Well, I didn't mean it to be different from what I first wrote, just
                        at a lower level
                        of abstraction... While I'm very interested in this at the abstract level,
                        I'd expect that the risk only becomes clear in a specific situation.

                        I agree that you'd become more sensitive to customer needs, but the risk
                        I see is that the customer may use this information against you. Since
                        XP seems to propagate a more transparent business, which I find interesting,
                        I'd hoped that some people may have experienced similar skepticism about
                        this idea, and perhaps might share some ideas on how to address those
                        issues.

                        thanks,
                        Manuel

                        On Nov 17, 2007 4:36 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.
                        <mailto:christopher.wheeler%40gmail.com> wheeler@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > This is real complimicated and I don't know how to weed through this
                        > example. It's different than what you originally said, and I'm not as
                        > interested in it now that it strays from my original interpretation of
                        your
                        > words.
                        >
                        > What I was saying is by opening up a company in the way you described
                        makes
                        > it more competitive and sensitive to customer needs. Turns out though that
                        > you wanted to talk about more complex situations....
                        >
                        > Chris.
                        >
                        > On Nov 17, 2007 9:56 AM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@box4.
                        <mailto:klimek%40box4.net> net> wrote:
                        >
                        > > Chris,
                        >
                        >
                        > >
                        > > Perhaps I'll try to make the example more concrete:
                        >
                        > > Let's assume we have three companies, A1, A2, A3, which sale software
                        > > products to three different companies B1, B2 and B3, which themselves
                        > sell
                        > > products from all As to C1, C2 and C3. Now there's a situation in which
                        > > all
                        > > As are not transparent - there's security involved, and there's a lot
                        > > of competition
                        > > between the As and the Bs as well. The Bs try to gain market share by
                        > > offering "exclusive" features and services to the Cs, which they want to
                        > > have
                        > > exclusively from the As.
                        > >
                        > > Now what can happen when A1 decides to become more transparent: for
                        > > example they offer a defect tracking system where the Bs can see all
                        > > open issues, under terms of an NDA.
                        > >
                        > > Now what if B1 for example sees a problem in the defect tracking system,
                        > > and B1 is selling more products from A2 anyway at the moment. B1 may
                        > > go to the end customers C and ask them "if they knew that A1 has a major
                        > > defect with regards to feature XYZ?". Even if they signed an NDA, I'd
                        > > expect
                        > > such a case would be hard to prove, and it might get B1 an advantage
                        over
                        > > B2, which is selling mostly products from A1.
                        > >
                        > > Another problem would be how to handle a situation, where a feature
                        > > was developed exclusively for B2, and B2 doesn't want the other Bs to
                        > > know that they plan to offer that feature to their customers.
                        > >
                        > > In the end I can't see why the customer behavior would make you more
                        > > competitive. Perhaps I just misinterpreted your post?
                        > >
                        > > Confused,
                        > > Manuel
                        > >
                        > > On Nov 16, 2007 10:27 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.
                        <mailto:christopher.wheeler%40gmail.com> wheeler@...>
                        > > wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > On Nov 16, 2007 3:39 PM, Manuel Klimek <klimek@box4.
                        <mailto:klimek%40box4.net> net> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > > Risks that I see are: The customer may take advantage of the
                        > > knowledge to
                        > > > > boost a direct competitor.
                        > > >
                        > > > Non-disclosure agreements. These are standard practice so that people
                        > > don't
                        > > > do these no-no's.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > > The customer may apply pressure to favor
                        > > > > "his" stories
                        > > > > over their direct competition (which would sound reasonable). Seeing
                        > > > > issues other
                        > > > > customers have might cause a customer to decide against a product,
                        > > even
                        > > > if
                        > > > > those issues would be unique to the other customer.
                        > > >
                        > > > I think this type of customer behaviour would be a great thing -
                        > > wouldn't
                        > > > this make you more competitive in attempting to gain your customer's
                        > > > business?
                        > > >
                        > > > Chris.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > --
                        > > http://klimek. <http://klimek.box4.net> box4.net
                        >
                        > >
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