If you see any of these in a vendor sales/analyst presentation, run fast.

  1. They open with, “this is under NDA” or “this is confidential” and you have never signed an NDA.
  2. The word “unique”. Especially in the same sentence as “industry leader”. If you are unique, you are, by definition, both the leader and the worst piece of crap out there. You do not want to be Schroedinger’s cat; it never ends well.
  3. No screenshots of the product until slide 43, addendum 7, behind a slide that says, “stairs out, beware of tiger”.
  4. No slides describing how the technology works. Bonus points if they won’t tell you because a) they are in stealth mode, b) it is a trade secret, or c) their investors won’t let them talk about it until the patent is issued (expected August 12, 2046).
  5. How you see the industry or world. Just tell us what problem you solve – we decide whether it is more important than the other 274 items on our to-do list. Bonus points if you refuse to skip this section when asked.
  6. A slide of company logos you aren’t supposed to put on slides because it violates your contract. Always amusing when the same logo is in every competitor’s slide decks as well.
  7. Any reference to Katrina, Pearl Harbor, or 9/11. Use chaff if they append “digital” to any of those words.
  8. We stop the APTs. (Some grammar fails are worse than others).
  9. The term “insider threat”, unless you sell to prisons or proctologists.
  10. Any reference to Edward Snowden, Unless you are actually the NSA (or Booze Allen, but for other reasons).

I’m not trying to slam any vendor, and for the most part both the product people and the smart marketing execs I spend most of my time with roll their eyes at all of this as well, but man, it sure is happening a lot lately.