Sunday, April 12, 2009

Candy and Aspirin - Why The Blog Name?

I think it was our Exec VP of Corporate Marketing - Bill Forquer - who first uttered the words that made me laugh. A dozen or so of us at Open Text were doing some wrap up brainstorming after a great day with a few industry analysts up in our Waterloo HQ.

We were talking about wicked product innovations we had in the lab and what we could do to better enhance our user experience. Everyone agreed we were the leaders when it came to records management, archiving, security, compliance solutions, but what about all of the cool usability stuff we had but maybe we just didn't talk about enough - Web Content Management, collaboration/communities, digital asset management...

How could we work better to balance the product portfolio, and our especially the marketing message around it?

"It's Candy and Aspirin", Bill said. "It's that balance of the attractive things that people want, with the necessary risk reducers that they need".

Back then I was leading the team responsible for our Livelink ECM collaboration product team, but working very closely with the VP looking after the RM and compliance solutions team.

Well, "I'm a candy girl", I exclaimed! And my colleague looked across the table and said, "so I guess that makes me aspirin...." We all laughed uproariously.

Maybe you had to be there...

But it stuck. Candy and Aspirin became a shorthand for an internal joke - but also a serious rallying point to remind us to seek balance - how did products and solutions meet top line efficiency and productivity "wants" of business users as well as the cost savings, regulatory compliance, risk mitigation pressures that legal and records officers "need"... And so over the last year the internal joke has been leaked (consciously and subversively) outside the meeting room walls too. Because it makes sense. Especially in the world of figuring out where 2.0 & social forms of collaboration fits in the business world.

Yin/Yang, Fun/Serious, Work/Play, Personal/Professional, Want/Need

Balance is difficult to find, but ultimately what we all seek. Not just in product marketing or technology portfolios, but in our lives.

My unabashed adoration for social networking tools, platforms and media types is because they help bring balance to my life. When work encroaches into evening and weekend hours.. I know I have the escape hatch to do the same - in the right balance - letting personal connections seep into the edges of my work hours. I live in a city away from most of my family and trusted social circle - and technology helps render geography null & void and bring balance to my world.

Candy & Aspirin KM World paper here


  1. I would like to change it in Aspirin and Candy, We are using Livelink in Agricultural Education in the Netherlands (about 70.000 accounts). Students and teachers aren't very happy with the look-and-feel of Livelink, it's aspirin for them. It should be more candy-like. We, the Livelink-developmentteam (assigned by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture) are looking for Web2.0 in education. We are using Livelink-COP's, wiki's and blogs were possible (and successfully). BUT: Schools are autonomous in the Netherlands. So, because they are not happy with the look-and-feel of Livelink, they are searching for better (mostly better looking) web2.0 applications besides livelink. I think that's very unwanted, because they hardly know all the facilities Livelink can offer. Of course we are using Appearances (App-HTML and -XML), PresentationPlus (MorningStarSystems), Webreports and several other tools to make Livelink more Candy-like: About 103 modules, of which 47 third party modules and 20 selfmade. One of them has even won a Global Award.
    We are working about 10 years now to change the schools to competencedriven education. Elearning programs (like Blackboard, fronter e.q.) aren't a option for this kind of education, because you have to follow the learningprocess of the student. That's where Livelink comes in.

  2. Cheryl, you shouldn't point to others for the success of Candy and Aspirin. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't invested further in that direction. I would say you're the only one that could claim this blog name.

    Well done and I am looking forward to see you Bloom at the Enterprise 2.0 show in June to continue the work started there last year (