Angus: Platform? What platform?

LinkedIn discussions are fodder for vendors, spammers, and slamming other people. But if you sort through the noise, there are some wonderful discussions. However, for IBM i, these discussions simply prove that we, as a community, are just not a community. There are so many of the so-called faithful who simply don’t know the platform.

Example 1…
Title: So, how would YOU promote the IBM i?
A comment: iseries I/T can be a huge business driver with B2B or B2C facing web apps.
Note: Who promotes IBM i by pitching the benefits of iSeries?

Example 2…
Title: IBM i and .NET
A comment: the above link is a RPGLE program running on my Core API that runs CGIDEV2 “down under” – so it is actually CGIDEV2 performance you are looking at
On the link: iSeries 520 power6
Note: iSeries never ran on Power 6.

Example 3…
Title: IBM i and .NET
Recent comment: we feel you might find either some of the answers to your questions or maybe even some end solutions by looking at (link to website)
On the link:
i5 Systems (aka AS/400)
IBM i5 systems
i5 (aka AS/400)
IBM i5 (aka AS/400)
IBM i5
Note: None of these mentioned brand ‘names’ belong to the platform as it is today, and some were never brand names.

It simply amazes me that this continued confusion and ignorance reigns. What is happening here? Why can’t the people who work on the platform KNOW what the platform is? Complaints about the name change are no longer an excuse – we have had IBM i on Power for three years – quite an eternity in IT.

Certainly IBM has many things to fix, since they really don’t appear to help in many ways. But surely there is enough noise in the community about IBM i, that the old names just make the speaker/writer look and sound hopelessly outdated? Why would anyone, in the technological industry, continue to talk about outdated technology? Yet, it seems rampant among the so-called faithful.

This questions keeps coming up, and the same old answers keep getting thrown at me. The name, the name. IBM, IBM. Marketing, marketing. Google, Google. All of these are tired and ignorant, and just excuses. If you want to promote a platform, why do you keep promoting its predecessors?

I truly think it is several things.
First, fear. For those who loved the AS/400, some of whom may have finally made it to the iSeries, they continue to code the same way as they did 20 years ago, they continue to work the same way, with the same tools. They are the hand crafters of our industry. While they may do good work, and be geniuses at their craft, they are afraid of change, or afraid of learning.
Second, lack of discipline. Most of us don’t think about the correct branding of the platform. We have no constant motivation to remember to use the correct branding. I find it easy – the competition wants it to die, you have a chance to help it live. Keeping that in your mind at all times makes for great motivation.
Third, habit. I asked one person to use the right name, and their response was “I am a recovering AS/400, iSeries, System i whatever aholic”. Of course change is difficult, but in this case, can’t you become an iHolic? Same great flavor, same addiction, more power…

I repeat here for your benefit, a version of the email I sent to the iSeriesHolic…

I just saw a response from you on IBM i Professionals, where you used the (now very very old) term iSeries.
My plea is, since you are someone who is visible in the community, for you to use the current branding when you write on public forums, and in presentations? We are an extremely fractured community with the BS about naming, and no matter what argument we use, no matter how tied we are to the past, we must come together as a community. Being consistent in our use of branding will help. Those who are very visible in the community are important, and by making a concerted effort to regularly use the current branding, obviously referencing the previous branding when appropriate, will make a difference.
Can I plead with you to make this effort? It is not a lot of work for you, and it would be a HUGE help to getting through this current quagmire of WTF-is-the-name-this-week BS.

Now it is your turn. In the competitive world we live in, where we do have the best business platform on the planet, I encourage you, plead with you, exhort you, beg you, promote the platform. The current one!

IBM i on Power.


Aaron BartellJuly 12th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Trevor, I am curious. Do you feel the amount of effort you expend is beneficial enough to continue the name debate? I agree we should call it by it’s current name, but at what point do you stop trying to ask dead trees to continue growing?

Mostly what I am asking is where can we better spend our time and energy to promote the platform? I think our time is wasted trying to convert the existing workforce (my opinion). How do we get a new generation access to the machine so they can take it places we have yet to dream of.

angustheitchapJuly 12th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Aaron, what ~name~ debate?

My thought is that we should be promoting the platform, not its predecessors. This is not about calling it by a name, but promoting something that was in our past. If we want a future for our platform, we need to promote the (correct) platform.

Our community is generally very very slow to adopt things. Take PHP, for example. Great idea, been around for a while, only now starting to gain traction. Take RDPower… and so on.. It is going to be some years before everyone in our industry actually KNOWS what the current branding is. In all likelihood, industry experts will be first, vendors second, customers third. My plea is for those who are still uneducated, undisciplined, or afraid of change, to take that step, and the first two groups should have started already. Since they haven’t….

Every conversation I have related to what the platform currently is, and how amazing it is compared to its past, seems to result in one or more people having the appropriate ah-ha moment. Name or not, promoting IBM i on Power is so much different than promoting AS/400, iSeries, System i, or some made up combination of brands. Given those moments, and being that this is my blog, I will probably keep up the noise!

Aaron BartellJuly 12th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

>Every conversation I have related to what the platform currently is, and how amazing it is compared to its past, seems to result in one or more people having the appropriate ah-ha moment.

This is what I was wondering. Since you still find value in it, then carry on 🙂

angustheitchapJuly 12th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I guess there is life in the apparently dead forest yet…

Aaron BartellJuly 13th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

>I guess there is life in the apparently dead forest yet”¦

Sure, there are always a few, but convincing a few people of the new way to state the name of the machine wouldn’t be worth a person’s time in my opinion.

Your other declarations of how the iPad is changing how people access data is a much better use of time. I only bring it up because I know you would rather hear what people are thinking than have people be slient.

angustheitchapJuly 14th, 2011 at 8:45 am

Aaron, so here is another way to look at it. As you may have read in the iDevelop blog this week (, Susan Gantner is now an avid mac user. I remember when she was a skeptic. I remember when you were a mac skeptic. What has happened here is a grassroots networking movement among friends/peers/colleagues. How many mac users are there in our community? There were none when I got my mac, and it has always been interesting to be the lone voice in the light, calling to you in the Windows darkness. While mac is not yet pervasive in our world, there are more and more each time you turn around. Grassroots is a slow process, and in this case, it is happening one at a time. The network grows and grows, but it has to start somewhere.

I believe the same with IBM i on Power. It starts with one at a time.

And I work on the other stuff at the same time 🙂 Did you read my iPad article in System i News this month??

Leave a comment

Your comment