Our IBM i community has one thing in common. We love the platform. However, we are a divided community, in that we don’t consistently treat the platform as the same thing. To some people, we are still working on the same wonderful AS/400 we had in 1988. For others, we have this amazing IBM i operating system running on the best business servers on the planet – Power Systems. And some of us think we are somewhere in between. We don’t all agree on what this platform is, how to use it in a modern way, or what we should call it. Yet we all love it?
Given that our platform has detractors who wish for it to go away, this disunity is a source of material for them. There are many who claim this platform is nothing but an old AS/400, out of date, and out of place. They work to migrate from this platform to a solution that is inferior, and in the long run costs far more to own. Yet, they manage to encourage people to move away from the platform with FUD about how they must modernize and upgrade. They push companies to move with claims that the user interface is old and outdated, and to modernize they must choose another platform.
This seems ironic, given that within our platform, we can upgrade to the best hardware and run a modern version of the best business operating system, with some robust applications that can be upgraded to the most modern of user interfaces. However, until the world knows the truth about our platform, this behavior will continue. The best defense to this continued chicanery would seem to be an offense. If the community of IBM i customers, consultants and vendors would spread the word ~outside~ the community, we could have a huge impact on the future of our platform.
Yet, we still argue about the name we should use for our platform and complain about the multitude of name changes wrought upon us by IBM. We defend our use of development tools that are outdated and outmoded. We complain about a perceived lack of marketing by IBM, and blame blame blame everyone else but ourselves. It is time to stop this waste of effort, unite in our passion for the platform, and make some positive noise in the I.T. world.
Imagine what we could do if we really did unite as a community! We could spread the word about our wonderful platform, fight back against the detractors, raise the visibility and reputation of our platform in the global I.T. community and add to the recent upward momentum of Power and IBM i.
Of course, this will take an effort on everyone’s behalf. We need to be consistent, direct, purposeful and positive. It will be difficult for many of us. Here are some thoughts on steps we can take.
- Call the platform by its current name
- Encourage people to use the current name
- Stop complaining about name changes
- Write the current name everywhere on the web
- Encourage websites to use the current name
- Stop complaining about IBM’s marketing
- Engage in marketing the platform ourselves
- Stop blaming IBM for anything
- Use the platform like it is 2012
- Modernize your developer skills
- Read the industry press
- Read industry blogs and forums
- Contribute to industry related social media
- Stop personal attacks on forums
- Start responding positively and in force to community efforts
- Respond positively and in force against detractors and naysayers
- Celebrate our strong heritage
If the platform has done anything for you or your career, it is time to pay that back. It is time for all of us to start being positive about our platform and its future. 2012 gives us the opportunity to come together as a community
My thoughts on this topic began when I was working on a new button for 2012. My 20ii button was a hit – you can find it here. However, this theme does not translate quite as well to 20i2, so something else needed to happen. On top of that, the news that Power Systems and IBM i, have had four quarters of growth in a row (read Steve’s blog), shows that we are no longer on a permanent decline. Naysayers be damned!
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be putting together my ideas for the 20i2 button, and making an attempt to start a movement that everyone can join. Our theme will be “building unity in the i community”. A website with an FAQ will be a start. Following that will be a way to get materials and you should be able to start your own small movement in your immediate community.
All ideas are welcome, and I will be posting more as it happens. Stay tuned!!