I was browsing earlier the questions and answers from our internal Quandora installation (reminder: Quandora is a Questions and Answers platform for knowledge sharing). We eat our own food, of course!
Most of the questions have about 2 to 5 answers, from which one is usually marked as “validated”. And I suddenly realized something interesting.
While the validated (or the highest voted) answer is indeed the most accurate, I always read all the other answers and comments. Some provide complementary information, others highlight interesting aspects related to the question, yet others are simply different perspectives. All in all, I find that basically every contribution (that has not been flagged or voted down) brings a valuable dimension to the question and allows the reader to build a 360Â° view on the subject.
Let me give you an example.
Julie, salesperson, asks the following question:
“I’m often told in sales meetings that BigCompetitor’s product is better because they have a very active marketplace compared to ours, therefore there’s a lot of modules available for their customers. What should I respond to that?”
Paul, presales engineer, gives the following answer:
“BigCompetitor has a lax policy related to module’s admission on the marketplace: they are not required to be compatible with the latest version, and BigCompetitor doesn’t provide any certified bundles. This makes the maintenance a total nightmare.”
Pablo, R&D engineer, says:
“BigCompetitor based installations are indeed hard to maintain. Note, though, that the certification we currently provide comes at a cost in terms of performance, since everything is compiled together in a big heavyweight kernel. Very soon (it’s work on progress) we will only include the most popular modules in the bundles => more modules, better performance, while still providing certified bundled.”
Last but not least, Molly, consultant, adds:
“The ones that are most responsive to the argument of heavy maintenance are our partners, since it’s usually their job to provide the maintenance. Customers, on the other hand, care a lot about performance. So use your arguments accordingly.”
Julie validates Paul’s answer. Indeed, it’s a clear answer that will no doubt work for most of the cases. But she also understood that she can be challenged further with performance issues, and she knows how to deal with this. Also, she knows now how to orient the discussion and focus on different aspects function of who she’s talking to.
The idea is, in business, as generally in life, things are rarely black or white. There’s always nuances, perspectives that are not true or false, they are just useful in some particular situation. Like the illustrious example of the wave-particle duality of the light: paradoxical, since the two concepts are rather opposite, but we accept them both because they allow explaining different phenomena…
The Questions and Answers format implemented by Quandora gives users not just an answer, but a whole complex perspective, built by people with different background, experience, role in the company, and personality. Who nevertheless have something in common: they are knowledgeable in the business, their way.