Buying the 'Great Conversation'

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 29, 2016

Do not feel bad if you hear the 'Great Conversation' and think of Plato, Plutarch or Shakespeare.

Sadly, a company has hijacked the 'Great Conversation' and turned it into a money making opportunity for promoting security manufacturers.

Sage Group

The Sage Group is a cross between a PR firm and a Dilbert cartoon. The self-proclaimed 'value transformation company' runs the 'Great Conversation'.

Conversation Starter

A few months back, the Sage Group posted a strange item on LinkedIn with a video from Stentofon:

"As part of The Great Conversation, we had a speaker on critical communication platforms (IP Intercom, VOIP Point-to- Point, Emergency Notification, etc.). This video attempts to articulate their value proposition. What do you think? Does it create interest in the value of a critical communications platform?"

A marketing video for any manufacturer, including Stentofon, is a stretch even as a conversation.

The 'Great Conversation' blog, though, is filled with such promotional posts, from a variety of vendors. 

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Buying Sponsorships

They feature Stentofon and other manufacturers because they pay for sponsorships. Here's their list:


Indeed, for $7,500 you buy a speaking slot at the Great Conversation event. For just $4,500 more, you buy 2 speaking spots:

Manufacturers who refuse to pay are neither great nor part of the conversation.

Buying PR Coverage

We had ignored it at first but recently we received the following PR pitch:

"My name is Regan Robertson of The Sage Group. I am reaching out to see if you will be at ISC West this year. My client, Vingtor-Stentofon..."

Wow. At this point, I am not sure if I should criticize them for the corruption or congratulate them for their thoroughness.

Ethics in Security

Sadly, such pay for the play is the norm in the security industry. It should not be. We are in security, after all.

But can we at least not trivialize the great books in the process?

1 report cite this report:

This Small City is Becoming All Axis on Jan 26, 2017
No partners needed, Axis will take it all. The self-proclaimed 'Great Conversation' is back and as they do each year, manufacturers buy...

Comments (4)

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"Pay for play" may be the norm, but this one features "Pay to be played" as well.

To the tune of $750 per conversationalist end-user.

"Sadly, a company has hijacked the 'Great Conversation' and turned it into a money making opportunity for promoting security manufacturers."

Hik-jacked here as well:

In defense of Hikvision, the event you reference promotes reading books, totally unlikely ASG's sales event.

In defense of me, I would point out that those are Western Authors in the wings there, and that they are promoting the reading of "Classics" (according to Google translate).

From your link

The Great Conversation is a characterization of references and allusions made by authors in the Western canon to the works of their predecessors.

Of course it's nothing like ASG's sales event as far as content, I didn't mean to imply that. They only share the concept of hikjacking, by co-opting the concept into a strange setting, and Hikvision is a least really talking about classic literature.

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