Tuesday at the RSA Conference – Bah-weep-graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong

(Dozens of menacing SHARKTICONS appear in front of KUP and HOT ROD.)

KUP: Don't act hostile. I'll use the universal greeting.

HOT ROD: Universal greeting?

KUP: Watch. I'll have them eating out of my hand.

(KUP holds out his hands to show that he's unarmed and then addresses the SHARKTICONS.)

KUP: Bah-weep-graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong.

HOT ROD: (puzzled) Bah-weep-graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong?

SHARKTICONS: Bah-weep-graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong.

KUP: See, the universal greeting works every time.

Transformers: The Movie, 1986

Many of the vendors at this year's RSA Conference seem to have adopted the idea of a universal greeting. Maybe they got this idea from Transformers: The Movie. Maybe they didn't, but if they didn't, it sure was hard to tell today.

The universal greeting that many of the vendors at this year's conference seem to have decided upon is "You'll never be PCI compliant without my product." Apparently they tired of the previous universal greetings "You'll never be HIPAA compliant without my product" and "You'll never be SOX compliant without my product."

In a few cases, the vendors could actually give a reasonable explanation of exactly what parts of the PCI DSS their products were designed to help customers address, but in even more cases they clearly hadn't really given this much thought. Instead, they seemed to be relying on the fear, uncertainty and doubt that the PCI DSS seems to have caused to get potential customers interested in their products.

I doubt that this is going to be a successful strategy. It certainly didn't work for the previous universal greetings, and I doubt that it will work this time, either.

On the other hand, I was happy to see that Voltage's partners who were exhibiting at the show didn't seem to have this problem at all. I turned my badge backwards to that they couldn't see that I was from Voltage and asked some of them a few questions about how their technology worked and exactly how it could help someone reach PCI compliance, and they all seemed to understand exactly what was required by the PCI DSS and how their technologies helped their customers comply with the PCI DSS. 

Maybe this was because our business development team is fairly selective about who they partner with. Maybe there's some other reason. I don't know for sure, but I do know that after hearing this year's universal greeting over and over again, it was a pleasant change of pace to actually talk to people who seemed to actually understand their customers' problems and how to solve them.

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