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Angus' Blog › Still flailing

January 24th, 2014 Comments off

It is 20i4, and we are still a bunch of whiners. What a sad state of the community. IBM i was branded in 2008, to represent a new evolution in our world. The hardware was now Power Systems, and our beloved platform was morphed into an operating system. Yet, six years later, we are still complaining.

Is it just because we are a bunch of old farts blowing in the wind? We did have passion for this platform once before. When the AS/400 was released, no one called it a S/38 or a S/36. Yet today, the same people who were so gung ho about the amazing AS/400, seem to have got stuck in the last century. With Power Systems, IBM i has evolved into an even better OS, become more integrated, can run inside a Pure System, and continues to evolve. What happened to the passion of all those AS/400 gung hos? Did it all just dribble out below the chair you are stuck in?

Just this week, a community pundit made the claim that if IBM gave them a commitment for at least ten years for IBM i, he would start calling it by the correct branding. This smacks of two nonsense things. First, starting about eighteen months ago, prominent IBM speakers showed charts with a commitment beyond 2025. The nonsense here is that this particular pundit is actually contributing to the world about the platform, yet has apparently missed one of the biggest stories yet? Second, the IBM i brand has now been with us for six years, and the AS/400 has been gone longer (14 years) than it was sold by IBM (12 years). Some of the community took six years to adopt the iSeries brand after the AS/400, so I expect we should see a turnaround in 2014. The nonsense here is that IBM’s branding is what matters, not what is deemed by an individual pundit to be “right” – especially when that pundit has ZERO marketing and branding skills.

All over the web, the IBM i community is flailing. The stubborn ignorance of the AS/400 Professionals LinkedIn group means we can still wallow in the past for as long as we like. And the complaints! Oh, the complaints. Even on the IBM i Professionals LinkedIn group there are a bunch of excuses and inane justifications about why we should still use the old branding. It is simply complaining. Whining. Seriously, it serves only one thing – that is, the outside IT community looks at the IBM i community and laughs. The platform detractors continue to use this against the platform – quite amazing, when you think how the platform can do so much that its own community does not even know all that it can do.

It is so obvious what needs to happen. Education. We need to combat the ignorance of the dark green ages, and bring the community into 20i4. For starters:

The AS/400 is dead.
IBM i is an operating system.
IBM i runs on Power Systems servers.

But are those living in the dark green AS/400 cave willing to venture out? For those who are listening, for those who have passion for IBM i, let’s plan on 20i4 being the year of education. Let’s spread as much information about IBM i as possible – its legacy, its capabilities, its future.

Are you up for it? There are a bunch of senior citizens who need their hand held while they grumble as they waddle into the light.


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Angus' Blog › Hope and Ostriches

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

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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Angus' Blog › Lamborghini bested in Power duel – against IBM i!

May 29th, 2013 Comments off

This series of charts is based on research in May 20i3 comparing a line of famours Lamborghini sportcar models with a line of famous servers supporting the IBM i platform.

Enjoy!


IBMi.vs.Lamborghini.001


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IBMi.vs.Lamborghini.029


Disclaimer: Numbers are approximate representations and not meant to be accurate. Comparing Lamborghini to IBM i on Power Systems is purely for entertainment purposes. Laughter is your own choice..


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IBM i for everyone! › IBMi25

May 1st, 2013 Comments off

A celebration of the 25th anniversary of IBM i!
Facebook page

Some AS/400 campaign photos…

Graffiti




Graffiti




Graffiti


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IBM i for everyone!.

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Angus' Blog › You are the source of your own complaint!

April 24th, 2013 Comments off

One of the loudest complaints about the branding for our platform is that you cannot google the name. Certainly, you would be foolish to think you could google the letter “i” – which happens to be the actual brand name. The answer is simple: you google “IBM i” – quotes or not.

I contend that until we start using “IBM i” in our internet correspondence, we won’t be able to google anything. However, it seems that people are starting to get the concept. Many vendors are leading with “IBM i” on their websites, in their blogs, and in their marketing materials.

Yet, there are still many posters who forget that simple concept. Just this week, I read a thread on midrange-L titled “SSL and public facing web site on the i“. How will any google search find this? Even the content had no mention of “IBM i”, so in the final google result, this discussion will be lost for all time. We have to pay attention to this, especially if we are the ones complaining about the lack of google results!

Even the press in our “IBM i” industry tend to be conflicted about this concept. IT Jungle’s Dan Burger wrote a great article about the future of our platform, and used a neat title “i Is For Investment“. Of course, in the fourth sentence of the first paragraph, Dan mentions “IBM i”. And, it is mentioned thirteen more times in the article. Google will find it, but without the title including the branding, the importance level of this article in the search results will be much reduced.

The answer is twofold. 1. Stop complaining about not being able to google for information about our platform. 2. Start using “IBM i” in your discussion titles, your comments – all your public-facing internet correspondence.

Very soon, we will find our world has less complaining and far more information!


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Angus' Blog › Community leaders! Step UP, not back…

April 21st, 2013 Comments off

To {your-name-here}, a community leader,

Would you consider assisting some of the rest of us in the community? We are trying to make a move from the old branding. Several years ago, we asked the manager/s of AS/400 Professionals LinkedIn group to upgrade the name of the group, and they flat out refused. All efforts since then, by various people, have failed to raise awareness of the fact that the platform is IBM i and runs on a new hardware server.

Our concern is that while some of our community doggedly stick to the old naming, those people also stick to old techniques of development and methodology. This leads to a perception in companies that our technology is outdated, and leads to more replacement of IBM i with non-IBM i solutions. Our efforts are to encourage the community to overcome their stubbornness and realize that the future of our platform is IBM i. Our efforts are to get those who see it as an AS/400 or iSeries, to see the platform in its current form – an OS that supports their OS/400 and i5/OS applications, but does so much more. A simple example is Live Partition Mobility – not something that can be done on an AS/400, and is one of the many amazing things that can be supported with IBM i.

To raise awareness of this, we have a quandary. Vendors specifically, need access to as much of their constituency as they can. AS/400 Professionals has almost 15,000 members. IBM i Professionals has more than 4,500 members, and both are growing around the same amount each week. Vendors need access to the “extra” 10,000 (or maybe 12,000 who don’t overlap?), so they want these people to listen to them. IBM wants to talk to them. Yet, most of them don’t see the platform as IBM i – thus, the quandary.

So, we need to make the AS/400 Professionals members aware that IBM i is our future. There have been various attempts to do so, but each of them has reached a complete pushback and negative reaction from the noisy members, those stuck far back in the AS/400 cave. One of the methods proposed is to leave the group in droves – but as I said, vendors feel they cannot, so the membership is growing. Another of the methods is to stop posting in the group – that appears to have failed also. The third way has been a little more successful, but needs to gain traction – someone posts an article or discussion in another group, and in AS/400 Professionals, posts a link to the discussion in the other group. That tends to have some more members join the other groups, so it works for awareness. In the long run, of course, we would simply like the AS/400 Professionals group to be renamed, and since they won’t, it needs to fade into history. And, as you are a proponent of our platform, surely you have some other ideas?

Unfortunately, there are prominent members of our community who continue to answer questions and contribute to discussions in the AS/400 Professionals group. You are one of them. You are visible, and you are regularly commenting in that group. The concept is, that while you continue to do so, you are promoting the thought that AS/400 is current, and that it is ok to continue to promote AS/400 (or is that de-mote?). This is not supporting the future of our platform, rather, it is telling the people who are stubbornly refusing to go beyond the AS/400 that it is ok to do so. And it simply isn’t.

Our community needs its leaders to support the future of our platform, otherwise, we simply don’t have a future. The tide is finally turning with vendors, who are now realizing that they should promote IBM i products and services, even though the audience is mixed between IBM i and AS/400 bigots. We need some people pushing forward, and that group is growing. Unfortunately, every time {your name here} posts an answer in AS/400 Professionals, it makes the rest of us have to work that much harder to combat “the name doesn’t matter” myth.

The name does matter, because it makes the world look at the platform differently. If outsiders see it as an AS/400, they won’t come. If graduates see it being used like an AS/400, they won’t come. If our own developers see it as an AS/400, they won’t move forward, and we will lose more. We need the community to promote IBM i and its future, and we need your help.

Can you assist in moving the perception of our platform from AS/400 to IBM i? It is time…


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Angus' Blog › Learn a new tool or three..

April 18th, 2013 Comments off

Part of the excitement of being in the Information Technology industry is that we get to be privy to the fabulous stuff that runs the world. Having been a computer geek of some form or another since high school, having had one of the first generation of IBM PCs, along with having an IT consulting career, I have witnessed so much of the history of computing. I am constantly amazed by what is new at every turn. The iPad changed the world. QR codes came, were predicted to have a short life, and are now pervasive. Connecting the world is getting easier. Communicating with friends, family and spammers is a snap. Voice recognition will probably disappear as bond conduction technology improves. Finger gestures on a tablet will move to the air. Technology amazes, surprises, and constantly changes.

However, there are some amongst the IT faithful who still use a hammer to solve every problem. All around us, we see new technology that can be used for our businesses. There are new methodologies, new development techniques, and tools that can improve our agility and the agility of our applications, and turn IT into an effective strategic business partner.

And then, I attend a user group conference or meeting in the IBM i community. I am told about how the AS/400 rocks. I am told how iSeries is the best platform IBM sells. I am told how “I don’t like the name, so I ain’t using it”. On a technical mailing list, a reply to a post with “IBM i” in the title contains the words “on the System i”. References are made to a platform that is dead, one that is almost gone, and one that has been forgotten. And none of those is as amazing, surprising, or evolving as IBM i on Power.

What happened to our community? The overall general confusion of using outdated branding simply looks like we don’t care about our platform enough to learn about our platform. Yet, each of these ignorant iBlasphemers claims to love love love this incredible platform. They state that it is the best on the planet. Which begs the question: If your platform is so great, what would happen if they upgraded it to something new and more incredible? Wouldn’t you want to move to that MORE incredible technology?

Well, IBM i is. All that you could do on your wonderful AS/400, incredible iSeries, fabulous System i, is available on the amazing, wonderful, fabulous IBM i on Power. If you don’t already have IBM i on Power, your next upgrade to a new server will bring you there, and your next upgrade to a used server will get you closer. IBM i is your platform, it is the current platform IBM is evolving, and your toolbelt should contain more than just the hammer of “I don’t like the name”.

As IT Professionals, isn’t it our own responsibility to keep up with technology? When you utter the out of date branding as though it were a new thing, your hammer is showing. After FIVE years of IBM i, your hammer is rusty. The buildings you are creating will topple at the first wind, and no one wants to live in them any more. Arm yourself with a little knowledge and make this community whole once more. To build a future on modern technology, rediscover your passion for IT, and you will find your passion for IBM i will be sparked.


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Angus' Blog › Wallow in our future.

April 12th, 2013 Comments off

During this week’s COMMON Annual conference, it was refreshing to see how the IBMi25 campaign, simply by its existence, stirred more of the community to reference the platform by its current branding. The speakers, for the most part, have upped their game, and this too, impacted the community in a positive way. There are still some holdouts, making various (ignorant, IMO) excuses, but that is almost gone from this event. Vendors are slowly getting their act together, and the number of booths with some past branding was reduced from previous events. When confronted about their lack of support for the ~actual~ platform, there was the usual (ignorant, IMO) stable of excuses.

For my part, I talked with several vendors about the difference between marketing a product and marketing to an audience (see my blog titled Marketing in the 21st IBM i century!), and it resonated very well. I think this is a successful approach to having vendors understand that their support for our platform is better served by leading with IBM i and understanding SEO to attract those customers who are as yet, unaware of the incredible combination of IBM i on Power Systems.

Other IBM i pundits, including some of the IBM Power Champions, approached vendors with their own thoughts on modernizing their branding vernacular and supporting the future of our platform. It seems that until vendors realize that their outdated marketing efforts are keeping customers in the dark and causing harm to the future of IBM i, there will still be a need to confront their activities with some strength.

It is true that some vendors either do not understand marketing, or have incompetent or unqualified marketers, or simply trust their marketing to their sales organization. In all these cases, they do not realize that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm – an OS running on the best business hardware in the world, and an OS that will support and run all the applications running on your “old” platform. They seem to be confused when one person utters an old brand name, and being unarmed with the facts of the platform evolution, choose to ignore the obvious fact that with a very small amount of education, they could not only convince the customer or prospect of the value of an upgrade to IBM i, they might engender a solid amount of excitement and passion for our beloved platform.

In my case, I began a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #IBMiStepUp – see more in my blog post titled Step up to IBM i!. When I see a vendor with a particularly abhorrent campaign or website, an #IBMiStepUp tweet will call them out and encourage them to lead with IBM i. One vendor in particular – who does well in support of our platform, has a specific marketing campaign that includes a daily “IBM i” online paper. They informed me I would be excluded from that campaign.. er.. paper, because I was a bully. Since then, none of my tweets from my angustheitchap handle will appear in their “paper”. As it turns out, they have also filtered out (censored?) other IBM i champions and tweeters from their “paper”. This seems to me to be quite wrong – advertising an “IBM i” publication that is nothing more than a marketing campaign for their own company, disguised as support for the community. If it were named for their company, it would not be as heinous, but it is simply one more example of the community having to sort through vendor FUD.

This community deserves more from its leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors. The first step is realizing that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm, and the one that is our future. No matter your current platform, you will/should soon be upgrading to IBM i on Power. The more leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors who talk about the old branding, the more our customer base will believe there is no future, and the more will be convinced to leave the platform entirely. If this is not clear by now, the fifth anniversary of Power Systems and IBM i, then it has to become obvious and the focus for our leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors.

Last week on Twitter, one vendor defended their use of old branding to sell modern technology by claiming they were “Switzerland in the name game”. Ironically, by saying there is a name game, they actually engaged in it – engaging in war is not neutrality.

If you are a leader, speaker, pundit, vendor, customer, developer or any other kind of interested community member, then it is time to stop the noise. Any time you respond to the use of the old branding with the new branding (with no argument needed), you are educating and promoting our future. Any time you respond in a forum that is branded for the past, you have an opportunity to educate and promote the future (with no argument needed). Any time you drop the old vernacular, recognize and respond to the old with the future, you are educating and promoting our platform.

Isn’t it time you stepped up? Stop engaging in a game that should have been put to bed five years ago when IBM upped theirs. Move away from the vernacular of the past, which by its nature supports a mentality of living, developing, and promoting the past. Find the place where you are comfortable in talking about your platform in modern and future terms – which will start when the current branding becomes native to your own brain.

It is time to wallow in our future.


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Angus' Blog › Time to stop the rhetoric

April 9th, 2013 Comments off

The 20i3 COMMON Annual conference is being held in Austin, TX this week. IBM have brought their IBM i 25th Anniversary celebrations. With that, the excitement in the community in attendance has been stirred, the passion is high, and the conference is buzzing.

There are, as usual, some holdouts. One prominent vendor is advertising their System i products – I stuck an IBM i sticker over that. Several vendors are promoting iSeries solutions, and attendees are generally giving them grief. The excuses range from “the customers call it that, so I have to” to “the platform is dead” to “IBM i is just iSeries”.

All of these excuses are utterly ignorant, showing that the vendors do not understand marketing a product as opposed to marketing to an audience. Their marketing skills seem to resort to poor selling techniques when their first response to the “why iSeries” question is not a question, but a defense born of frustration.

Certainly, vendors – and the community, need to understand and learn how to market IBM i products to an audience which includes IBM i customers, iSeries customers, AS/400 customers, and the occasional System i customer. However, this should not preclude them from understanding that while we have a strong legacy (proven) starting with the AS/400, we have had IBM i on Power Systems (which is a NEW platform, BTW) for five years.

IBM i has proven its longevity. While customers may be holding out, vendors have a responsibility to educate, support, and promote IBM i – the future of our platform. They must upgrade their marketing. And, the ignorant defense of “thats what the customer calls it” needs to be removed from the equation. If you are a leader in our community, you will be a leader, not a follower.

And the rhetoric of “the platform is dead” or “the platform has no future” or “the platform is dying” needs to simply be dropped from the vernacular of those vendors who are in this industry for the long term. Not a whisper, not a mention, not a hint of that FUD should be uttered from anyone in our community.

Then, when we hear that FUD, we know it is coming from those who wish to migrate us from the platform, and we can act accordingly.


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