Point-Counterpoint: An Introduction

Journalist. Reporter. Columnist. Writer. Blogger. These are all very different things, yet there’s a lot of commonality to their activities and presentation. Most often, to have some semblance of credibility one must consider both sides of an argument or treatise in addressing a topic. This is done in the name of being “fair and balanced.”

The problem is that being fair and balanced can also lead to a kind of blandness in the writing. We might still convey some useful insight, but without expressing what is truly opinion it’s often difficult conveying a passion for the topic.

Dave Michels and I started blogging at about the same time . We come to it from different angles. Whereas I come from a user background, his experience stems from a long history in telecom/IT work and channel experience.

Starting from his personal blog he has gone on to be a contributor to such noteworthy sites as NoJitter, UC Strategies and Examiner.com. I like Dave’s writing and have come to appreciate his  experience and perspective. If you don’t presently read these sites, you should.

I like Dave’s writing and have come to appreciate his  experience and perspective. If you don’t presently read these sites, you should.

Some time ago Dave approached me about a new way to blog. Basically, by working together on a given subject to mutually create balance. Dave and I work hard to provide balance in our blogs and this sometimes takes the fun out of it. This can be more than a little frustrating at times. Most especially if you’re the kind who sees the possible benefit of the occasional, unrestrained rant.

Dave’s idea was to partner-up with someone and consider some of the telecom issues of the day without the usual editorial restraint. It would be the kind of point-counterpoint presentation where each person could take a strong stance on one side of the issue. A public debate that might be more fun than a well balanced blog post.

This was of course just too good an offer to let pass. So, Dave and I set to work on an initial topic; Hosted Voice vs. Customer Premises Equipment.

As a long time PBX-person Dave is pitching the CPE side while I promote the hosted PBX option. If as a reader you consider both opinions you’ll still get a well rounder overview of the topic, but accompanied by the more passionate side of each argument. Please feel free to join the debate via the comments, and if you have suggestions for other topics let us know.

You must realize that in this specific case the opinions expressed by Dave and I may not reflect our actual opinions. It’s about starting conversation, and ensuring that the issue is addressed from both sides.

As to the tone of the debate, the model that Dave mentioned was the 1970s Saturday Night Live “Point/Counterpoint” skits featuring Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin.

This rich treasure-trove of television history gave us such one-liners as “Jane, you ignorant slut!” and “Dan, you pompous ass!”

I’m not sure that Dave and I will be able to reach the same depth of passion that these two managed, at least not initially. But who knows, once we’re warmed up a bit I might be just the ignorant bastard that Dave needs to truly become a pompous ass!

We can hope.

  • This should be an interesting dialogue. I’ve been sorting through the issues of hosted vs. on premise lately, especially as the hosted solutions become more feature rich, and easier to use. Hosted VoIP can seem rather expensive as your number of users increases, but they both have their pros and cons. Personally, I’m on the CPE side of the fence at the moment, but, I’ll read this series with an open mind.

    Since we already established that Dave might be the “pompous ass”, just remember, “there ain’t no shame in being a HO”.

    • I wouldn’t be so sure about the cost issue. It depends largely upon the billing model of the selected provider. Many, as Dave points out, charge $xx/mo for z minutes/mo/extension. But that’s just one common billing model. And billing model is at least in-part the basis on which you decide which provider to use.

      In our case we prefer a provider that has no per month fee per extension and no allowed minutes per user. They simply charge per minute for actual usage across their media gateway. All IP-to-IP calls are free. IPPSTN calls are charged. We’re saving considerable money over our prior solutions.

      Of course, that’s based on understanding the we’re not running a call center. We don’t do a huge number of minutes. We need a number of extensions that do limited traffic.