Archive for February, 2007

Clarifications

I’m now stepping beyond my intention, and posting again to my blog, only because my last post seems to have caused more of a furor than I expected. I appreciate many of the comments that have been made about my situation and understand that some perceive the limitations on my postings to be a form of censorship. However I would like to clarify a number of points before this spirals any further out of control.

Firstly, I have decided to discontinue posting of my own free-will. My employer has not demanded that I take down the blog, only that if I continue with it he has more of a hand in how it is run. Some may see this as an infringement on my rights, however I see it as more in line with Ian Kahn’s thinking, that my employer would like to bring the blog closer to home and link it more closely with his business. My decision to rather abandon the blog is simply a recognition that if this becomes yet another business project to be run by the IT department, I would firstly lose some of the flexibility and freedom in my posts and secondly it would impact on my workload and the expectations of the company.

The second point that I’d like to make is that I do not consider my employer to be narrow minded in any sense of the word. Yes, he maybe doesn’t realise all of the ways in which technology can benefit his business, and perhaps does not grasp all of the power that is generated through the building of online community. Or perhaps, this is my techno-centric framework and at the end of the day, it doesn’t translate to much in a business sense. However, to be fair to my employer, he has trusted me in all of the IT decisions I have made so far. He has allowed me to move all of our server software across to an open source paradigm, in an effort to cut costs and to explore development options that were not available to us before. This, in my opinion, is massively forward thinking and open minded. My employer is very encouraging in the projects that I take on and gives me a lot of free reign when it comes to making decisions about technology and sometimes gives me freedom to present ideas which will help with marketing, which is well outside of my remit. On the whole, he pays me well, looks after me and is generally encouraging of the work that I do.

Part of my employer’s concern was that I had not made him aware of my blog directly, and he felt that since it was related to the industry, this was somewhat underhanded on my part. And that’s a fair criticism. My reasons for keeping quiet about it were initially because I wanted to build up some traffic and articles before presenting it to him. And eventually because I felt that discussing it with him, would probably put me into the situation in which I am now.

Finally, I’m posting this article during my working hours, from my work PC, as I believe that this posting will help clear up any ill-feeling that may be circulating around the net and which may have some impact on our business. Generally I posted my articles during my lunch hour, but from my work PC. I guess you could argue the company resources thing either way. But at the end of the day, I have not been censored or treated poorly by my employer. I have just made a decision as to how I would like to continue both with my work, and with respect for my employer’s wishes.

Perhaps in future, I may post the odd article on somebody else’s blog, or I might contribute to one of the magazines that deal with the trade, but for now, I’ve got to focus on what I’m employed to do. Please just enjoy what I have left here as a mark of my enjoyment working in the trade and the positive experience that I have had doing so.

February 8, 2007 at 10:12 am 6 comments

Update

To regular readers of my blog, you may have noticed that there have not been any updates for a couple of weeks now. Toward the end of last month, my employer called me in for a meeting and brought the existence of this blog into discussion. He felt that this blog was potentially a conflict of interest and that he was not certain that he wanted me to continue writing for it. My response was that I felt that the blog as a whole provided a number of incoming links to his site, was written anonymously and represented my personal experiences working in the trade, as such I felt that it had no direct impact on his business and that if anything it helped to benefit him through cross-linking.

Unfortunately, my employer felt that by linking to other book dealers I was acting contrary to his interests as a dealer. While he has expressed an interest in using my writing skills in other areas of the business, and has suggested that I could continue writing for this blog if he can influence who I link to and which articles can remain online, I have decided that I would prefer to return my focus simply to getting my job done and I will no longer blog about anything to do with the rare book trade.  I will however leave this blog online, so that any of the notes that I have left up that have proved helpful to anybody else can continue to be used.

I appreciate my employer’s position and he has treated me very fairly and looked after me while I have worked for him. I thank you all for your readership and for your support while I shared what I could of my experiences. Good luck and happy blogging.

February 6, 2007 at 12:21 pm 10 comments


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