Jumping Down The #CodeGate Rabbit Holes by Jon Hansen

Posted on May 14, 2015


“In a fall down the rabbit hole, an individual sets off on the path with a goal, gets sidetracked by various events and changes direction several times along the way, eventually ending up somewhere unexpected, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. Nevertheless, the path often leads to serendipitous discoveries. Furthermore, according to the principle of obliquity, the meandering path may eventually turn out to be more productive than a more direct one”. – WhatIs.com

While the NIGP #CodeGate posts have seemed to capture the attention of so many both within and external to the procurement industry, it is the words that remain unwritten that represent a surreal dimension to an already complex story.

In this regard, I can easily envision what it must have felt like to be a Klondike miner, having to sift through a seemingly endless stream of rushing water to uncover a few precious flakes of true gold. Scrutinizing the waves of anonymous tips in an effort to glean meaningful facts, has been an equally laborious task.

Of course this task has at times, been made even more challenging, by the conflicting undercurrents of anonymous sources, suspect agendas and in some cases bizarre revelations.

As a result of the many strange twists and turns my lengthy investigation has taken to get to the point of publishing the comparatively small number of posts that you have read in this blog, my view of the procurement world – and the people in it – has been forever changed. In fact, it would be safe to say that I have seen enough to know that I have seen too much.

However, without jumping down what I will call the #CodeGate rabbit holes, I would have never discovered both the uniqueness of the NIGP situation and, its parallels with an industry going through an at times tumultuous transformation.

Needless to say, in deciphering what information is relevant and fair, and what is orchestrated by those looking for a desired outcome, there have been moments of personal reflection and struggle. What is ironic for those whose motives originate with the latter, they have now come to the realization – sometimes with painful consequences, that it is impossible to predict where a single piece of information may eventually lead.

I am sure that when this story first broke back in December with the Up Periscope post, no one anticipated that its contemplative musings would materialize in the form of the Missouri bid protest.

Nor would I imagine, that in seeking to better understand the reasons for the NIGP’s conflict of interest relationship with Periscope, would anyone have suspected that my efforts would reveal that many of the industry’s associations are awash in red ink, struggling with declining membership, and paying executive salaries that would offend the sensibilities of most procurement professionals. Or as one source bluntly put it, “after being in the industry for as long as I have, the most I ever made was $80,000 a year . . . then I see that these association execs are making upward of $200 to $400K a year, and I have to ask why!”

Of course the ending to this most unusual story has yet to be written.

Some believe that the NIGP’s Rick Grimm will be offered a silver or lead proposition in the form of a big payout to go away or else, while others wonder if the airing of the industry’s dirty laundry will irreparably damage the reputation of the profession for many years to come.

Along the lines of wanting to shoot the messenger, there have even been suggestions that people are as angry with me as they are with those who are directly involved with the #CodeGate mess. This is perhaps the reason why, despite its significant and lasting implications, other industry journalists – including bloggers, have backed away from covering the story.

Generally speaking, the majority of those with whom I have talked, believe that my coverage has been both timely and revealing. For example, not many who attended last week’s ISM conference were aware of the fact that the association has lost approximately $2.3 million over the past two years. Like the anonymous source referenced in my May 8th post, this group feels that I am the only chance for anyone to get the complete story.

When everything is said and done, it is this last point that matters most to me . . . the belief that in reading Procurement Insights you will get the true and complete story both now, and always.

It is the reason why I have gone down the #CodeGate rabbit holes.  It is also why I will continue to invest the time and resources to go where no one else is either willing or able to go, to provide a much needed perspective on an industry in the throes of a major shift.

Just started following the NIGP #CodeGate story? Use the following link to access the Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

Follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate