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Angus' Blog › Hope and Ostriches

January 3rd, 2014

In a recent LinkedIn conversation, the discussion was divided into two camps. One was anti-RPG, the other pro-IBM i. Quite fascinating to see the attempt to spread lies and misinformation from the original poster, but given that their job is to move people away from the platform, it makes sense – albeit, imperfect.

What is bothersome is the complete lack of spine from our community. Here we have an anti-IBM i proponent being given a forum in a pro-AS/400 platform. The continued ignorance of the group’s name aside, it would be supposed that the forum comprises people who are FOR the platform. According to some of the commenters, it is the troll’s freedom of speech that gives him the right to post his fear and misinformation. While I disagree, there has certainly been some amazing pro-IBM i responses to the thread. Since the troll will reappear in a few months with his vomit, at least we see a strong level of support from a few members of the IBM i community.

The interesting perspective that has fallen out of this seems to point to a general malaise in our community. It is clear that small businesses do not have any IT Strategy. And, our community seems to not understand, or misunderstand, the concept of strategy in any sense – let alone for IT. Take for example, these two excerpts from the comments:

“As you said, it is entirely possible to gradually modernize from the inside out. … All we can do is lead the horses to water, and hope they choose to take a drink.”
“I’m an evangelist too. However, if my cheering sounded muffled it is because as an IBM i evangelist, I had to have my head buried in the sand.”

What fascinating and utterly ignorant perspectives. They seem to reflect the common complaint that “waah waah, they are taking away my IBM i”. What a lazy cop out.

Here is one simple truth. Leading a horse to water does not include a constant complaining that the management of your business did something with which you disagree. If you want to support the platform, lead the horse, bring the bucket, make the horse drink – push the horse into the water if nothing else works. Using hope as a business or IT strategy is quite ridiculous. Even though it has been proven not to work (over and over), there are a community of people who continue to rely on hope and wishing.

Here is another simple truth. If you are an evangelist, evangelize! Sticking your head in the sand means you do not understand what an evangelist does. If you find a barrier, push through it. If you find resistance, work to remove it. Evangelizing requires you to learn everything you can about the platform and educate everyone you can about the platform. Stopping for a moment is half-hearted at best, and totally dysfunctional to boot.

If you do believe in this platform, then it is your privilege to promote this platform. And that means talking about it to everyone. When you continue to converse with your users or customers in old vernacular, you show your ignorance and support only the platform’s past. When you make excuses about why you should or should not make a business case for IBM i to present to your company, you will lose your platform. One recent experience was at a user group where an individual complained that his company would not adopt PHP on i. I asked him how he went about it, and he said he asked his boss and his boss said no. I asked him where his business case was, and he said he had stopped trying to get PHP into the company. Certainly, presenting a business case can be a daunting task for a mere programmer, but the might of the IBM i community is behind all of us.

There is absolutely no reason for a single one of us to be intimidated by our position inside a company that would cause us to stick our head in the sand and hope for a miracle. It is time for the IBM i community to get a spine, climb to the top of the nearest boardroom table, and shout to everyone about our beloved platform.


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