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The Importance of Community

Concerned about System i marketing? Take action.


Awhile back, we devoted this column to a short piece on PHP. At that time we said that one of the most interesting aspects of PHP was the similarities of the PHP and System i "communities." We have long been supporters of community-based self-help groups such as midrange.com, which is hosted by David Gibbs. We've also worked with user groups all over North America, Europe and Australasia for many years.

 

But while many work to build the community, we are often disappointed by the attitude of many System i users who, rather than do anything constructive, appear to prefer to sit back and criticize IBM's lack of marketing and other "sins" for the decline in System i revenues in recent years. Don't get us wrong, we too have often been critical of IBM's inability to tell the market place about the hidden gem that we all think of as "our" system. But we've always tried to constructively focus our energies on contributing to the community. Why? Because our careers are tied to the system and we want to be able to continue to work with it for many years to come. Therefore it's in our interest to do anything we can to help promote it!

That's why when our friend Trevor Perry asked us to participate in a new grass-roots effort called "Angus The IT Chap" we agreed. "Angus" started off as a simple blog with a few thoughts on marketing and the System i world in general but quickly started sprouting other arms, including pages devoted to marketing ideas. "Angus" has also started to encourage others to submit advertising ideas and videos that can help propagate the System i platform through "viral" marketing channels.

But "Angus" wasn't alone. Others in the System i world were also working on similar ideas. One notable and somewhat surprising group consisted of four students from the University of Nebraska. Having been convinced of the value proposition of the System i platform during their participation in the System i Academic Initiative, they wanted to help other students get to know and love the system. Other initiatives, big and small, were also underway. For example, Penton Technology Media was developing a new System i information portal.

After a while IBM began to take notice and quietly encourage these efforts under the code name "Project Prometheus." This "quiet encouragement" phase ended Sunday, Sept. 17, at the COMMON conference in Miami Beach, Fla., when IBM officially announced the launch of iSociety.

 

Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.



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