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Once Bitten Twice Shy – Google Reader and Implied Employee Agreements



(More of a rant than anything….)

I read a lot of blogs.  It is my lifeblood for information that isn’t covered in the “mainstream” media’s print, video or online properties.  Blogs allow me to tap into the thinking that occurs on the edges of the “mainstream.”  For me – that is where the future typically lies.

I use google reader to organize and manage the 300+ blogs I’ve subscribed to over the years.  I use RSS feeds for subscribing not email – hence the need for google Reader.  The majority of our subscribers here use google Reader.

Well… what do you know when I log in today to read my feeds and google tells me that as of July 1, 2013 google Reader will go away.

Buh bye… hasta la vista… don’t let the door hit on the #ss on your way out.

Gee… thanks google.

Not The First Time

So now I have to scramble to find a replacement – but that’s a first world problem – on to my point.

This isn’t the first time I’ve invested my time and energy into google and their services to have it pulled out from under me.

  • Buzz
  • Wave
  • Now reader.

And I’m hearing from the webigentsia that Feedburner is next on the list – a service we currently use to send our email updates and RSS updates from this blog.

(BTW:  If you subscribe to this blog via RSS you’re gonna have to “resubscribe”  through the new service.  My bad – I’ll post more on it in the future.)

Now I understand the need for google to make money (but last I checked they made a ton) and there was no formal contract between me and google on their services that promised me anything other than the service I was getting.  No long-term commitment.  No service level agreements.  It was me… I was greedy and took the free service.  Relied on it.  Used it daily.

Then poof.

The Best Predictor of Future Performance

I’m a firm believer that history is a good teacher.  Look to the past to get a view of the future.  It may not be in total focus but the image will be clear enough to give you an idea of what you’re in for.  For me it means that other services I rely on for my day-to-day activities will probably go the way of Wave, Buzz, Reader, and potentially Feedburner.  That means google+ and maybe even gmail.  Who’s to say they won’t also fall by the wayside.

I don’t know but you can bet I’ll invest a lot less time in them and a lot more looking for opportunities to switch when I can.

What’s This Got to do With Business Paul?

A lot.

How often to you change things up with your employees or your channel partner without thinking of how it might affect them?  Do you install new software without finding out how the “users” might react? Sure it saves money – IF they use it.  Do you change a procedure and assume because it makes your life easier it makes everyone else’s?

There are many more things that happen every day at work that employees see as “implied promises.”  Conversations in the hallway.  Promises made at review time.  Reinforced corporate values (think about IBM’s no layoff policy.)

Here’s the problem.  The more you change “implied” agreements the more you communicate that you can’t be trusted.  The more change without communication you engage in, the less likely your audience will:

  1. pay attention
  2. believe you when you say “I promise we won’t change it again” and …
  3. stick around.

Looking for the Exit

Just like me – I’m looking for alternatives to google reader, and google mail (for personal – you can still reach me here: paul.hebert@symbolist.com – I do trust them.)  I’m also gonna start using Bing instead of google.

Google convinced me they can’t be trusted.

Overreacting?  Maybe.

But that’s what people to when they think they’ve been played.

Do your employees think this way?  Do you spend the time to think through what your actions might mean to your employees?

Remember when you said there would be raises next year?  Remember when you said there wouldn’t be layoffs?  They do.

Well… remember google reader.

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