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December 7, 2008

The Blessing of Criticism

I am listening right now to a book called "The Man Who Owns the News". It is a biographical story of Rupert Murdoch and the News Corp empire. In particular it focuses a lot on the battle for Dow Jones and all the behind the scenes movements at that time.

I have always been a big fan of Murdoch. He is the entrpreneurs entrpreneur. He takes risks, he is the perennial outsider, and his track record speaks for itself.

How can you tell that News Corp is the market leader? Because they polarize the market. 

You are either with SAP or you are against them, with Microsoft or against them, with Fox News or against them. 

You aren't for Oracle, or Sun Microsystems, or CNBC. 
Fox is polarizing, The Sun in the UK is polarizing, in fact - all of News Corp has polarized the news and media industries globally.

The obvious lesson here is that we should welcome criticism. Sooner or later most of it degenerates into personal attacks and comparisons to Hitler, (Seth Godin) but some criticism is useful. 

Criticism means you are having an impact. People are noticing you. They might even be threatened by what you are doing. But more than anything else, criticism means that you are standing out. 

This needs to be balanced of course. If everyone is criticizing you and no-one is defending you then you are definitely doing something wrong. But some critics, some opponents and some detractors means that your products and services are most likely starting to make somebody feel uncomfortable.

Take note of what they are saying, ignore the personal stuff, change, move and continue.