I was recently asked to endorse two totally separate things. And it made me reflect on just what my principles for such an action might be. So here’s an gentrified version of my first thoughts on my principles for endorsements:
First, my reputation is based on rigor in thought, and integrity in action. Thus, anyone I’d endorse both has to be scrutable both in quality of design and in effectiveness in execution.
So, to establish those, I need to do several things.
For one, I have to investigate the product. Not just the top-level concept, but the lower-level details. And this means not only exploring, but devising and performing certain tests.
And that also means investigating the talent behind the design. Who’s responsible for things like the science behind it and the ultimate design.
In addition, I expect to see rigor in implementation. What’s the development process? What platform and what approach to development is being used? How is quality maintained? Maintainability? Reliability? I’d want to talk to the appropriate person.
And I’d want to know about customer service. What’s the customer experience? What’s the commitment?
There’ve been a couple of orgs that I worked with over a number of years, and I got to know these things about them (and I largely played the learning science role ;), so I could recommend them (tho’ they didn’t ask for public endorsements) and help sell them in engagements. And I was honest about the limitations as well.
I have a reputation to maintain, and that means I won’t endorse ‘average’. I will endorse, but it’s got to be scrutable at all levels and exceptional in some way so that I feel I’m showing something unique and exceptional but will also play out favorably over time. If I recommend it, I need people to be glad if they took my advice. And then there’s got to be some recompense for my contribution to success.
One thing I hadn’t thought of on the call was a possibility of limited or levels of endorsement. E.g. “This product offers a seemingly unique solution that is valuable in concept”, but not saying “I can happily recommend this approach”. Though the value of that is questionable, I reckon.
Am I overreaching in what I expect for endorsements, or does this make sense?