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Open Letter to Bill Boorman



Dear Bill,

I thought long and hard about writing this, but in the end I decided that I had to.  I’m an HR pro and I spend my time telling people to challenge bullying and inappropriate behaviour.  It would be hypocritical not to do so myself.

On Friday I read a blog post by you (you can find that post here).  I didn’t agree with either your original post or some of the comments that were made in response so I made comments on the post to that effect.  Later I wrote a post stating my own views, (you can find that here) because I was angry about seeing another introverted self-defiling post on an HR blog, I think I referred to the debate on twitter as “more of the same bollocks”.  I didn’t make any reference to you or your post on my blog, because I don’t know you and would in no way wish, through the association with my post, to cast aspersions about you or your level of intellectual prowess or propensity for whingeing.

Unfortunately you, on the back of this, for some incomprehensible reason, felt the need to make what I believe were intended to be disparaging remarks on Twitter.  To be precise you said “reading @TheHRD and realising that there is only one @lruettimann of @punkrockHR”.  If being compared to Laurie (even negatively) weren’t a compliment I might have been upset.  But why you felt you needed to send this to your 4,000+ followers and also mention Laurie and Punkrock HR – another 15,000 people, I cannot understand.  Although, I suppose as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

But to cut to the chase, it’s not the actually phrasing of your message that I question, if you’d paid any attention you’d know that on many occasions Laurie and I have disagreed, but we have managed to express our views openly and honestly and I hope without any bad blood.  Indeed I don’t think that I have anything but good relationships with any other blogger.  What I struggle to understand Bill is why you sent an intended insult to 20,000 people rather than engage in debate?  At the bottom of my post was a section entitled comments, you could have put your views forward, we could have had a discussion. Alternatively, you could have responded to my comment on your blog.  You chose to do neither.  If it was simply that you don’t like my blog…..don’t read it.

I’m small fry, a Z list blogger.  I do this for fun.  If you look around my site you will see no adverts, I’m not trying to sell anything or gain customers or attendees to a (un)conference.  I write as I think and I write as I speak.  People that know me will testify to that.  I’m real and authentic Bill, I’m sorry if that unsettles you.  If you had a beef with me, you should have addressed that directly.  Trying to involve another blogger in it, was just frankly pathetic.  It reminds me of the bully boy at school that beats up on a smaller kid to try to get in with the in-crowd.

We all have enough to do without people playing stupid games Bill, you chose to make this personal and public.  On your website for the TruConferences you state, “You are actively encouraged to disagree, argue, debate and question, all we ask is that you respect one another”.  Is that what you believe Bill?  In which case, can you explain why you did what you did?  If you are about encouraging blogging and social media, how does this sort of behaviour fit?  Or is this a question of do as I say, not as I do?  Brands take a long time to build, but moments to erode… should really be careful.

Next time, please feel free to comment, or alternatively to email me.  As I replied in my tweet to you, there is no need to make these things personal.  Perhaps you want to give me a shout?  Let’s go and have a beer and you can maybe get to know me as a person, before you start grand standing and throwing your weight around.  That is what a grown up would do Bill.

I’ve left the comments open, so that you can have the opportunity to respond, although I would ask anyone who comments to do with the utmost respect to others.  I don’t want to row Bill, we are a small and disparate enough community as it is, let’s not go beating up on one another.

With best wishes,


7 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/12/2010 10:44

    I’d be glad to have a beer, and sorry that you took such offence to write this post. It wasn’t the intention. I did find the tweet “More Bollocks” a bit offensive in an open twitter stream when posted with a link to someone else’s blog that linked to mine. I reacted to that and with hindsight, perhaps i shouldn’t have done. Hands up, I was wrong in that. I was actually referring to the comment in the open tweet stream, nothing else.
    Your blog and comments do not unsettle me. I’m thankful that you took the time to comment and as you practice HR for a living you are probably the best qualified to comment. I don’t take offence to you saying its rubbish, nonsense or anything similar. That is the point of having a blog. I’m not over sensitive; I just thought referring to my content as “bollocks” was irritating. I hope you comment and disagree again.
    I thought your reply of “Thinking some people live up to their name – @BillBoorman” was riposte enough. (I laughed at that one.)
    Stick to your style, have a few tussles and disagreements but mostly enjoy and learn from it. Be glad to have a beer or a coffee anytime. Goes to show that all tweets (and e-mails for that matter), can be misinterpreted.
    PS: There is no such thing as a Z list blogger in my book.

    Keep blogging

  2. teresahrgirl permalink
    04/12/2010 14:33

    Right proper row you two had. But alls well that ends well. I would love to see a debate on the matter of Bills opinion to integrate HR into each function but do away with the Dept. Who could pull that into a consistent culture and make sure it was implemented fairly top down? I read Bills post, but my loyalty (and agreement) lies with you HRD. Its what you do that matters. The other discussion about how to do it has been debated ad nauseum.

  3. G-dog permalink
    04/13/2010 00:40

    Well, interesting – don’t you two know you are suppose to escalate and drag others into the fray???

  4. 04/13/2010 03:15

    Well done to you both…have both the beer and the discussion.

  5. 04/13/2010 08:53

    Case closed. The end.

  6. 04/15/2010 12:36

    Now I’m worried; I agree with Bill for once. No such thing as a Z list blogger – unless of course someone wants to be that! Rest of his stuff is of course bollocks but then I don’t really mind what he thinks 🙂

  7. 04/16/2010 09:27

    @Peter – Thanks for commenting

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