Angus: Some of you need to pay attention!

AttentionAfter attending the first World Science Festival in 2008, I follow the twitter and email for information about the 2009 festival. Today, I received this tweet:

I followed the link to a local newspaper site, and began to read. By the end, I was confused – there was no mention (in the article) to the town in which the event was being held. I did not know where Randolph College was, so I searched the web and found this home page. Not being able to find the location of the college from that page, I clicked on About Randolph. No mention there, so I clicked Visiting, and saw the words “Lynchburg and the Region”. Now I was getting somewhere! At the bottom of that page, I clicked the link for Location and Directions to Randolph, and finally discovered that Randolph College is located at Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, VA.

I considered this to be reminiscent of when I travel in the US and see an ad for a phone number without an area code. All the local people already know the area code, but being from out of town, I have no idea. I guess they don’t expect out-of-towners to read that ad! When a local newspaper writes an article, they would assume no one from out of town would read the article. By placing that ad on the web, they probably are not expecting the world to see their words, so it is not necessary to write locations inside the article.

Then, I took a backpedal. On a newspaper, there is a masthead, with the name and location of that paper. Was there one on the website? There was!

And right there, it has the location! I missed that…. How about the website for Randolph College? I scrolled down to the bottom of the home page, and, there it was!

I learned two lessons here. First, don’t assume everyone knows your backstory or location. Second, there is a lot of information readily available to us, if only we would look.

I know that a lot of the world does not understand the power of IBM i. The backstory and location are not very well known, and are confused by the stigma of ‘old’ that is attached to a fabulous heritage. It may take some writing to the world (oh yeah, the internet) for that story to be better known.

And, for those people who remain solid AS/400 resources, we have to reach out to them and show them their future – something it seems they cannot readily see in the world around them.

These two lessons will go a long way to engaging the entire IBM i community, and investing in our future.

Get to it….

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