Angus: I resign.

It’s time.

There is too much complaining, whining, moaning, and ego in this community. There is too much laziness, arrogance, narrowmindedness, complacency, and stubbornness.

Certainly, the majority of the community are geniuses, and for the most part, lovely people. Including you.. And geniuses at business, at RPG, at developing applications, and more than likely, in being a parent, sibling, grandparent, and all out nice guy/gal.

Our platform is an operating system. It is called IBM i and runs on Power Systems hardware.

Period.

Nothing else.

That is what IBM sells.

That is what IBM supports.

That is what IBM invests in…

And it has been that way for over EIGHT years – a lifetime in I.T.!

Yet, in our community, the excuses to use old branding, incorrect branding, what-I-feel-like-today branding, and plain ignorant branding is simply nonsense in a world of such genius. Our history is glorious, but promoting the old and outdated brands is ridiculous beyond any measure and does not suit you.

It has been my effort in the last decade, starting with System i, to spread awareness of the current and future branding. I created a blog, included 27 extra bloggers and won an IBM/COMMON Innovation award for my efforts. I created the first IBM i cartoon. I started bringing buttons to conferences (from my own pocket) to promote our platform in 2007, and have continued that every year since. I purchased IBM i stickers and several thousand were distributed around the world. These are all investments in a platform that I consider I am passionate about.

And just imagine if you were an IBMer working in some capacity on IBM i? Imagine the passion and effort you put in to the platform – from hardware to software to applications? If I feel this disheartened with the community, imagine how IBM employees feel with all your constant griping, moaning, and whining. I am fortunate that I am able to speak my voice in our community, but I cannot imagine how difficult it is for the people who work on OUR behalf for IBM i, to see the behavior of the IBM i community in 2016. It is, frankly, ridiculous and unsupportive. Next time you meet an IBMer, thank them for IBM i. Maybe you can start there?

Look, I can take a lot of heat. I grew up in Australia, where you are used to taking shit from other people. And I have enjoyed being able to handle the heat for other people in our community. My reputation as “IBM i policeman” is quite misinformed, but probably founded in my behavior with the addition of gossip.

A decade later, and nothing has changed. OK, there is more awareness, but the name debate continues like it matters. In the last few weeks, this is a small sample of what I have personally encountered.

1. One member of our community has repeatedly referred to the platform as anything but IBM i. When approached, he promises to step up. Still, his own web page says he worked on something called i5 – which is not actually something that ever existed (for a month – I’ve told that story before). He refuses to use the correct branding even now, insisting that using IBMi (no space) is better than IBM i (correct). His argument appears to be that he knows better than IBM and he prefers no space – apparently that makes it easy for him to type. So, his arrogance overrides the use of the correct branding? This is bullshit. And, when I called him out on it on a forum, he ran away because he was offended. His defenders suggested he was helping the forum and contributing, yet it was clear he was using it as his own support forum when he ran away on such small provocation. If he thought the forum was more important than his ego, he would have stayed. Seriously? It’s time for me to stop dealing with that egotistical bullshit.

2. A vendor discussed with me how he had approached IBM to support a framework he liked, and asked them to run it on System i. His entire conversation was about System i. When I asked him why, he said the name “did not matter”. When I explained to him that Power Systems was a NEW platform, not a System i renamed, he told me that he did not know. After eight years, you have still not noticed what your own platform is? Seriously? It’s time for me to stop dealing with that ignorant bullshit.

3. Attendees in my sessions at the recent COMMON conference were asked if they had even been to the IBM i home page recently. The percentage who had was less than half the audience in every session room. Seriously? It’s time for me to stop having to point out this obvious bullshit.

4. Attendees in an IBM session at the recent COMMON conference complained that IBM does not market the IBM i platform. This was following the COMMON Opening Session, where a video was played that was marketing IBM i. And, it seemed, the complainers had not noticed all the social media marketing that has been happening for several years. They complained there was no “airline magazine” marketing – a seriously ignorant response that has been debunked over and over for more than a decade. Seriously? It is time for me to stop arguing with those people who are not paying attention and still seem to want to spread bullshit.

5. My Twitter responses to use of old branding has come under fire (again) as of late. Apparently, because I point out that AS/400 is dead and IBM i is the successor, my approach is perceived to be too harsh and divisive. My argument has always been that holding hands and singing Kumbay-i has not worked. My second argument is that if my noise is too harsh and divisive, then step up and spread love and peace. Yet, the complainers continue to complain about my approach, but do not step up to drown out my “noise”. Seriously? It is time for me to stop making noise when no one else is willing to step up and join the lead the promotion of the platform.

6. Every time I write a reasoned and educated article or blog entry about IBM i, I mention that it needs to be used in a modern way. I argue that using the correct branding is ONLY the start of that process. I spend a lot of time reasoning about modernization of applications, modernization of developer skill sets. I present many sessions on how to move to a modern IBM i world, and then I get this kind of idiotic response: “If it looks like duck, walks like a duck, then it is called a duck, and shot like a duck”. I was even schooled by an Italian that a “rose is a rose by any other name”, but in Italian, so it looked far more classy than the lame excuse that it is. Seriously? It is time for me to stop listening to unoriginal excuses, lame complaints, and misrepresentation of my position.

This, is the tip of the waah-waah iceberg. If I even slightly offend ANYone in this community, they run off to find gossip about how I “shout obscenities at people in public for using the wrong name”. Bullshit. I use obscenities, I am very passionate about the platform, I have lots of energy I devote to promoting the platform, and all I get is schoolchildren behavior because your feelings were hurt?

As much as there have been successes in my attempts to promote IBM i, promote using IBM i in a modern way, and promote the correct use of the branding, it always seem to become personal. And yet, it is not. In any way. The issue today, is that it HAS become personal in a new way.

Certainly, the community needs to step up and UNITE behind IBM i, paying attention to the branding, paying attention to using all the features and functionality of a modern IBM i. This has always been my desire.

But today, it becomes personal, because people are focusing on ME. They spend much time and effort in refuting my efforts, in attacking me, and finding gossip to spread. I get the blame for some of the most inane nonsense in this community, despite every effort. And I am sure most of those who are talking smack about me have one of my buttons, one of my stickers, or have copies of one of my presentations. They may even have a copy of my book.

So, instead of focusing on IBM i, it has now become all about focusing on feeling miffed at me, and that is no  longer good for IBM i.

This is my resignation letter.

Its your turn.

5 Comments

JonMay 27th, 2016 at 3:05 pm

So what’s next? Retirement i?

Bill GravelleMay 27th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Thanks Trevor – as one of your early “punching bags”, I can say:

Not blowing smoke up your skirt, but seriously I know I’ve mentioned before how much you’ve taught me over the years (generally in the middle of COMMON sessions) and how that has helped me to be a better member of our community. I’m sure one can never get enough kudos, and our IBM midrange group of hard-heads (myself included) likely are too shy to really share their feelings with you; but our world would be in a much worse place without your dedication and ability to really engage to make a real difference in so many lives.

I could never say it enough, a million thanks!

AngusMay 27th, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Jon, I plan to change the world, rather than just IBM i 🙂

AngusMay 27th, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Bill, I appreciate your words so much. Thank you.

Torbjörn AppehlJune 1st, 2016 at 1:16 am

Both sad story. The branding/naming discussion still going on and also you personally being attacked. You are still my hero and changed my point of view that day in Minneapolis during the first timers session, five years ago. Now I am on your side but luckily seldom meet any haters in the Nordic region. Obviously too many users still say AS/400, but the numbers are shrinking fast. Thank you Trevor.

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