Angus: ‘Tis the season?

For some reason, the end of the year brings out the noise. The same missive to IBM is expressed – a plea for IBM to market IBM i. The same complaint is loudly expressed about how IBM i is losing ground, going away, disappearing. Twitter seems to have provided a new place to spread negativity and complaints.

These particular members of our community have been awarded an AS/400 Syndrome award, using the well-known definition of insanity from Einstein – er, wait, Benjamin Franklin, er… from Rita Mae Brown’s 1983 book Sudden Death.

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

Year upon year, the same accusation is rallied forth against IBM and its ‘lack of marketing’. Year upon year, IBM responds by not doing the marketing that is being requested by the complainants. There must be some point where said complainants realize a few things. First, IBM will not be marketing according to any plan except their own. Second, IBM is marketing the platform, just not where, when and how the complainant wants it to be done. Third, most of the complainants are not marketing savvy, simply tech folk offering just their own opinion about a business practice of which they have little knowledge – reminiscent of programmers designing graphical user interfaces. Last (for now), for IBM to be influenced enough to engage in a non-planned marketing campaign, there would have to be extraordinary circumstances.

It seems that the last point is the only one where any of us in the community have a chance to influence IBM. There are many examples of how grassroots campaigns have influenced companies to change their marketing. And we could certainly do that – there are a lot of passionate people in our industry.

However, there is one major flaw. The majority of our industry community are not willing to put forth any effort, other than words, to impact IBM marketing in any way. iSociety in 2006 and 2007 tried hard to engage the community. There was a video contest, engaging students and the community – the results are still available if you sort through the archives at The total number of videos outside the student contest sponsored by IBM’s Academic Initiative was small. A large number of podcast tools were handed out at COMMON and other industry events as prizes, and the recipients promised to record and post a podcast about i – System i back then. The total number of podcasts recorded and posted with this equipment was ZERO! Where was the follow through on those promises?

Just this week on the site, a series of images promoting IBM i were posted. A tweet was tweeted to encourage IBM i tweeters to take a look, with the hope that they would start something small – maybe some feedback, maybe some more suggestions, maybe some retweets. What happened? A tweet was posted to tell us that IBM i is (in all caps) NOT GOING AWAY.

What is happening here? Are we all living in pessimism? Marketing is not about spreading the word that we are LOSING ground. Marketing succeeds when something stands out, when something is positive, when something encourages OTHER people to come play in our playground.

I encourage… no, exhort… even, plead.. with the IBM i community. Stop complaining about the same things over and over. Stop calling the platform by one of its predecessor’s names. Get off your arse and DO something. Make a video, post a blog entry, tweet, tweet, tweet, tell your non IBM i friends, digg every IBM i centric article you see.

Tell everyone about the AMAZING IBM i that runs on Power Systems.

You can, you know.

1 Comment

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Trevor Perry,
Angus. Angus said: A plea for the #IBMi community to spread the
POSITIVE words: Tis the
season – be jolly! […]

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