I got a few comments yesterday that made me think that some of you have the wrong idea. OK, I admit, the EDI/CIO comment I made yesterday morning was over the top, and as an act of contrition, I will tell you that yesterday I was told not to wear a shiny shirt, suit, or shoes to a particular customer because their CIO didn’t like shiny consultants. My shirt was quite shiny. Something that would have been helpful to know before I packed. DOH.

Before I go any further, I do realize this is April Fools Day. What you are about to read is NOT an April Fools joke. To help illustrate that point, you won’t see any backhanded complements here, just the front hand kind!

two thumbs up, by Aidan Jones

two thumbs up, by Aidan Jones

I love Dave Hogan, CIO of the National Retail Federation. Sure, I pick on him, and have published rants on several occasions here in this blog–dating back to my first reaction to the NRF’s CIO from a 60 Minutes broadcast in November of 2007. It’s not exactly like the playground love I felt when pushing down Lisa Duffy at recess. More like your beer buddy that only gives you a hard time when you spend all day complaining about guys that buy fast cars, drive them with the top down during winter just because they can, and then I go buy one and do the same thing, and James calls me on it while visiting a local watering hole in February. It’s that kind of love. Beer buddy love? I may be on to something.

Let me clarify that I’ve never met Mr. Hogan. I once sat in a room with him in Brussels, but after the session ended, both of us had folks around us that wanted to chat and I lost him in the crowd. I wanted to meet him face to face, but didn’t get the opportunity.

So why do I love Dave? Well for one, he has the testicular fortitude to stand up and voice his opinion against what many believe is a conspiracy against merchants. There are not too many others, including the competing retail organization, that take the same stance that he does in such a public fashion. The guy has cojones, and he should be celebrated for it.

I love Dave because he gives me something to write about. Agree or disagree, he plants a flag out in the PCI pasture and it’s up you to to decide to run toward it, or plow over it. In a world of people who refuse to accept accountability for their actions, litigate their way out of trouble, play the blame game cause NOTHING is EVER their fault, and are publicly moderates even though they are privately extremists, how great is it that you know EXACTLY how Dave feels about the issues he talks about? If nothing else, he’s consistent. The same message that prompted me to write that blog post late one Sunday evening after watching football was conveyed in the congressional hearing on PCI yesterday. Regardless if you agree with the points, he lays them out and lets you do with them what you will.

Finally, I love Dave because deep down, he really is looking out for the little guy. I’ve been a part of small companies. My first experience being the little guy was a two man company back in 1996. We were competing against the big guys–and winning. But as we grew, we quickly realized that the big guys had much more ability to react to us than we had to react to them. So we gracefully exited and sold two years later. So from one little guy to another, it is great to have someone standing up for you and trying to make things better.

Dave has good intentions. He is trying to make things better and he doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers in the process. One of these days, should we be in the same city, I would LOVE to chat about our differing viewpoints and offer as much help as I can to him and his constituents. After all, I’m not too unlike Dave in that I like to help people win, especially the little guy!

How about a round of applause for Dave!

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.

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