This week I learned the price of integrity.
Dennis Howlett is someone I've known for six years and whose opinion and insight stand out as the sharpest and most prescient in his domain.
Dennis can also be a cantankerous old geezer sometimes.
Dennis first floated into my universe in January 2006 when he voiced an opinion about an accounting software business of which I was the managing director. I thought his opinions lacked in a variety of areas and overall, he demonstrated a limited understanding of some key facts. On balance what he wrote about my company was negative and dismissive.
Which pissed me off. A lot.
So, I did what seemed like a reasonable thing and picked up the phone, unannounced, and challenged him.
Over the course of a 40 minute phone call I tested his viewpoint and informed it with my own views and opinions, and he in turn did the same.
We both left the call wiser. He later wrote about my buttonholing him here.
And over the years since we've agreed and disagreed with each other on a variety of subjects, but we've always maintained a healthy professional respect. No lines have been crossed.
So, those who have sought to diminsh his reputation this week and the onlookers who have relished in the fallout are the one's whose stock has declined in my view. Not Dennis Howlett.
I'm told that I'm a genuine chap, and you won't find many people who'll question my integrity.
I'm also a good judge of character and my gut tells me I'm right about Dennis, even though he might blow hot and cold and play up to his 'shoot first and ask questions later' persona more than he ought to.
But who's perfect anyway. Plus, when all's said and done; life's too short.
And my personal experience also tells me that a simple phone call might have gone a long way.