Here’s a really deft rhetorical move from a seasoned blogger.
Fred Wilson wrote today about co-founder relationships at start-ups. Though the ideas can be applied quite easily across industries and leadership models (I’d say they hold true for most executive level teams), I’m linking to the post because of its “Disclaimer,” which comes at the very end:
DISCLAIMER – This post is absolutely not about any company, any founder or founders, or anything specific at all. It is just about something that we frequently see and is worth talking about. If you think I am writing about you, your company, or your founder, you are wrong. But I am happy to talk about it nonetheless.
By not putting the Disclaimer first, he ensures that anyone associated with him will read the blog post very carefully — after all, when they begin reading, they may recognize their own situation. Only at the end are they let off the hook.
Second, Wilson leverages his trademark honesty and transparency to drive home his point: this isn’t about you, he asserts, but if you think it is, we should talk. He doesn’t want anyone to carry around noise in their heads. And he offers them a solution that amplifies his message. Communicate in a timely and direct manner.
Third, the very fact that he offers a Disclaimer shows that he has a masterful understanding of his platform. He knows people read his blog; he knows it causes waves within his industry; and he really doesn’t want to hinder anyone from doing his/her job. That would be bad for the company, bad for the customers of the company, and bad for investors in the company. Hence, the disclaimer . . . but only at the end, after serious consideration has been given to the beginning. Platform sense, writ large.