A Public Apology to Fluke Networks

In February I traveled to Phoenix to attend the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference (WLPC). It was an excellent conference with a ton of useful information and resources. One of the remarkable aspects of WLPC is that there are no corporate sponsors. All conference expenses are covered by attendees, and while vendors are encouraged to include items in the conference attendee bag, they are no booths, booth babes or trolls. I am certain some attendees would rather run booth to booth grabbing tchotchkes and attempting to avoid getting their badges scanned. I find the WLPC model refreshing.

At this years conference the organizers tried something new. Once the conference was done for the day, they opened the conference rooms for vendors to host attendees. Dinner or drinks were usually provided.

It was during one of these events that I overstepped an invisible, but clearly present line of professionalism, and I recognize that I owe a public apology to Fluke Networks. During their evening session, when things became slow for a moment, I took the opportunity to ask a question. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, but my question was something like: “When will the Mac client be released?”

A simple question right? Only, the answer I got somehow exposed some raw emotions, and those emotions fueled my responses. I managed to completely side-track their session by asking for attendee participation in straw poles:
“Raise your hand if you want a Mac version.”

I mocked their walking man pointer used during surveys as a waste of CPU resources, when all I needed was crosshairs, and I continue on ranting and raving for a few more minutes. I acted like a drunk heckler, only I can’t blame alcohol.

As soon as my rant slowed, I realized I had fueled the crowd, and as other people began to chime in, I watched them reinforce my points and I sat there feeling vindicated; feeling great about delivering a bit of honesty and a big dose of reality. Their session never got back on track, but I will say the Fluke Networks team handled it with aplomb.

I now recognize that I needed a big dose of humility in that moment, not vindication. 

I’ve thought about that discussion a lot since it happened, which is what led to this blog post. Ultimately, that was the wrong venue for the conversation that I forced on them. I sat there with a belly full of food that they had graciously provided, and I completely derailed their conversation. My apologies to the Fluke Team in attendance. My apologies to the other attendees who might have been sitting there hoping for the very product walkthrough that Fluke was providing.

My blog IS the correct venue for the discussion. My passion for technology, networking, and specifically wireless fueled the rant and I plan to outline some of my frustrations in an upcoming blog post. The response I received that fueled my rant was one of disconnect. “Why would you want that?” Again, certainly not verbatim, but that was the message. I hope to start a conversation rather than rant into the void. With that in mind, I will lay out the case, and then I will put this to rest.

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3 thoughts on “A Public Apology to Fluke Networks

  1. I don’t get the gaff – if you look around the room at WLPC it was easily (easily!) 75% Mac computers. Despite this being their target demographic, they continue to only grow on old code. I don’t think calling a company out and asking why they refuse to service their target customer is unreasonable. This should be a question they anticipate and are ready to answer. I think customers that are paying for some of the highest-priced individual-use software shouldn’t have to run through hoops (VMware, Parallels, etc) and the hubris of the maker shouldn’t be that we need to deal with it.

    The first tools company that starts embracing the Mac is going to quickly get a loyal following and reset assured I’ll be gladly writing them a large check and requiring all my suppliers to do the same.

    • Hey Doug,
      I agree that the points were valid. I just have a problem with the time, place, and attitude that I used to convey them. There may have been users in that room that genuinely wanted to see what Fluke had to offer. They might have even needed the general walkthrough of the product that was being provided.
      Don’t worry. Next week, my follow-up post clearly lays out the issues as I see them with Fluke. I also propose a solution that I would love to get feedback from others on.
      It just so happens that my blog is the *perfect* time and place for that discussion.

  2. Pingback: Geek Tools Rant: Fluke Networks – AirMagnet | It must be the network…

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