Quote of the day


Stop being part of the problem. You don’t have to cheer if that’s not your thing. Just don’t join in the jeering against your benefactor.

Apparently IBM is my benefactor. Who knew? I thought they were just a big IT / professional services company. On the one hand they sell some excellent software called Lotus Notes & Domino which I sometimes work with. On the other hand, they employ consultants who persuade various big companies, some of whom I’ve worked for, to move away from Domino to something else.

So, IBM, if I stop being part of the problem (I published a story about Microsoft: oh the humanity!), will you?

Update: the more observant of you have noticed that I disabled comments on this post after the fact. This is a one-off whilst I throw my toys out of the pram (as is my right), so no need for commentary or conspiracy theories. Those who left comments, your words of wisdom are still alive, tucked away in the depths of the site database, so if you want posts, just ask). ;-)

Update #2: OK, as a “Lotus Community” member who should know better (heaven forbid I should do what I want with my own site), click through as normal for the four comments published before I went off-line. Thanks.


  1. Sounds like the old "either with or against us". The world is so simple. Just stop thinking.Volker Weber#
  2. There's some confusion right now about asking 'hard questions' and 'being negative' Apparently, the less thoughtful in the community are having a hard time distinguishing between the two.

    Personally, I feel that IBM actually get an easy ride in our little yellow bubble. More hard questions would have possibly highlighted earlier the complete disaster that was Workspace.

    The folks within IBM of course have their own reasons for not having to do anything.

    --* BillBill#
  3. I suppose it's very easy given history to say that "we told you so" about Workplace. Lest you miss what I clearly said in an e-mail the other day: inside, we say the same thing, and at least we can point to actual places we did. Someone at the top of the mountain said "make it so", and it took 18 months for someone below them to have enough evidence to say "no", and another nine months to say "I have a better idea". Because of a culture of engineering backgrounds, it wasn't enough to say "no", it had to be with data, reasoning, logic, and experience. Those of us lower on the food chain had our "no" votes heard from time to time in the process, and it was the eventual pressure of them that changed the course. It took another too years for the second lane of the highway to end, another one for the product line to be declared dead.

    Any community has do-nothings who love to complain…and people with good ideas who challenge others. Hard questions are acceptable and I've fielded more of them publicly for Lotus than anyone else. Why it's unclear that there is a difference between asking hard questions and flame-bait, I don't know. Not that the latter is completely out of place -- but it doesn't have to be warmly welcomed or, worse yet, encouraged.

    The point that seems to not quite make it because, perhaps, of who is making it at the moment and filters that are applied -- being constantly negative in a manner more like flame-bait creates an impression for those overhearing or just listening to the conversation that the subject matter sucks. We had someone from a large mutli-national corporation complain publicly that the impression he gets from the comments on my site and is enough to turn him off from Notes. That's disappointing, and Nathan was simply trying to make the point that while it sometimes feels good to pile on to a stupid issue like a full text index on a small percentage of the base local client that's never had the capability in the first place anyway, it creates the impression that the product has problems to the uninformed reader. When said client is ridiculed in the same place for an INI setting that offers more flexibility than any similar product in the market, the casual reader sees a finger-in-the-eye approach to what is actually good news for every single customer. When the casual reader sees nothing about a great 8.0.2 release, iNotes on the iPhone which is actually passing requirements tests despite heavy initial criticism, the 8.5 Mac beta update, the new Lotus Protector product line or the momentum press release, which named names and quoted numbers for the first time… and instead get to find out amazingly important things like trial downloads actually stop working after the trial period, well, it creates an impression.

    Volker's comment implies it's "with us or against us"… I run a business, and yes, I'm much more inclined to work with people who are inclined to be "with" me. Microsoft is way more so - they pressure business partners who do business in both worlds to stop, they force them to use Exchange internally, they pay them gobs of money to say stupid sh*t in front of audiences or at customers, and take this approach a hundred times more aggressively than any other company I've ever watched. But we're not talking about them right now :) Being more inclined to work with people who are trying to work with me is not some American trait, it's not some negative orientation -- it's pragmatically adopted by companies in millions of little decisions all over the world. On the other hand, I embrace strong critics, and make things happen -- but only when that critic isn't a) always negative, sorry, I don't have energy for parsing what's useful and what isn't and b) holding a knife when they come to hug me.Ed Brill#
  4. Ben, it's generally considered courteous on the web to provide a link when you quote something from a published page.

    How many years have you been making a living by working with Lotus technology? That's a simple enough question. This very blog is hosted on a Domino server. Whatever number it is since the IBM acquisition of Lotus Development, that's how long IBM has acted as your benefactor to one degree or another -- as the larger of two organizations in a partnership in which the impact they had on you was dramatically larger than the impact you had on them.

    Never in a single instance did I say "you're with us or against us." The point I've desperately trying to illustrate is that you are either with YOURSELF or against YOURSELF. Banking your living on a technology and then publicly tearing down that same technology is self-detrimental. I'm doing nothing more than connecting together the implications of your own public statements.

    I couldn't care less whether you're with ME. The growth and success of your career has absolutely no impact on mine whatsoever. I want you to be successful because I think it's good and just for someone with a high degree of skill in an area to be successful in that area. If it's possible to contribute to that success by improving the Notes-related job market in the UK (which you publicly agreed was "the worst [you'd] ever seen it,") then I would encourage all those capable of improving it to do so. Including you.

    Volker tries to describe this as a moral conflict. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think you are committing an error of knowledge, not of intent. You don't see a relationship between two things. This is a point on which reasonable people can disagree, but I certainly intend to make a case that there IS a relationship.

    If I occasionally become overly passionate in my advocacy, I beg your forgiveness. But if you'll read exactly what I'm saying without the assumption that I'm trying to "tell you what to do," it might become clear that the only person I'm suggesting you should agree with is yourself.

    @2 - Bill, I think you mean WorkPLACE, and I have a tough time accepting the argument that there weren't a lot of direct, public challenges made against that strategy at the time. The difficulty was that they were made to an IBM that had it's fingers in its ears. I really don't see how one could claim that this current IBM operates in the same vacuum.Nathan T. Freeman#
  5. Thanks for permitting comments again, Ben.

    I've made a specific effort to put aside personality conversations to explain my point here:

    I hope you'll find it work reading. And that it has a positive Z effect.Nathan T. Freeman#
  6. Errr…. WORTH reading. gg typing.Nathan T. Freeman#
  7. Re this whole job market thing vs. being down on IBM Lotus, it’s facile. And here’s why I think that:

    Kerr, myself, and others in the UK posted about the job market in direct response to the odd story being posted (not odd on Ed’s part, but odd from Computer Weekly) about the Lotus job market in the UK. The story popped up there with no corroborating evidence from a periodical that posts its own job adverts. When it comes to advertised positions, there isn’t a meaningful job market for Lotus Notes & Domino in the UK, nor has there been for years.

    That I can do anything about that is flattering to say the least.

    Notice I said advertised positions. Notes & Domino work exists over here, no question. But it’s a small world, and a lot of us—at least in and around London—know each other. Or know of each other ;-) So that’s how many positions / contracts / whatever get filled—jobserve doesn’t get a look-in. That’s no bad thing in itself, it’s what networks are for after all, but it indicates that there is very little new blood coming into the dev / admin market.

    I refuse to take any blame for this situation by posting the odd story like the other day’s Exchange number. As Nathan points out above, I cannot hope to ever have any significant impact on a company the size of IBM, and it was IBM who screwed up the Notes / Domino job market (amongst other things) by dicking around with the two lanes and all that rubbish, whilst MS and co. made hay.

    Sure, you can point at a comment on a site from someone in a big corp. who’s wobbling about Lotus, but empirical evidence of websites like mine killing business? Give me a break! Experience also suggests that said CIOs are already on the fence, and just use posts on the web as “evidence” to jump down on one side or the other. Blame (lack of) due diligence and politics there, not a few weblogs.

    Finally, on to the Lotus community. The yellow bubble has called out a lot of things over the years—I’ve been involved in many of these—and that’s all well and good. But I have to say, sometimes I really wince at my older posts and at those from others, especially when it comes to people who differ with “us”.

    Having been on the receiving end of some of this “care from the community” tonight, albeit in a very minor way, I can see why it bugs people. For example, I disabled comments on this post and was immediately called out on that by at a snarky post on at least one website and also on Twitter, literally within minutes.

    Well fuck that.

    I’m going to think more carefully about what I say to people with whom I disagree, and I hope everyone else does too.
    Ben Poole#
  8. One other note: let’s not take these spats too far eh:

    :-o Ben Poole#
  9. @7 - Ah, Ben, this is my entire point!

    "I cannot hope to ever have any significant impact on a company the size of IBM,"

    Perhaps not. But you can clearly have an effect on IBM's customers. That may have been debatable in the past, but the entire point of my original post was to point to an instance of a sizable customer questioning the platform based on the public feedback of its advocates.

    You can't say "it doesn't affect the market" anymore. The modern web proves you wrong.

    "Experience also suggests that said CIOs are already on the fence, and just use posts on the web as “evidence” to jump down on one side or the other. Blame (lack of) due diligence and politics there, not a few weblogs."

    Why even give them ammunition? The only reason to arm that CIO with ammo to hurt you is because you believe the benefit outweighs the cost. Does it? I'm not insisting on a position. I'm simply saying that it's an important question. Do you empower those with agendas that hurt your career by statements you make? Maybe you do and maybe you don't. Don't you think the answer is important?

    Look, posts on get read by more people than my blog. And I know for a fact that my content has influenced some customer's attitude towards Lotus products. It stands to reason that yours has too. Isn't that impact worth thinking about?

    You're not standing on a street corner talking to yourself, man. People actually care what you have to say. I'm among them.Nathan T. Freeman#
  10. Feels just a bit too much like censorship to me. And where does Brill get off attacking Ben on twitter? I doubt that's in his job spec! Sorry gents but that ain't right.guttedgeek#
  11. @10 I didn't really care for having spent a good 15 minutes writing my comment @3 above and then seeing it disappear. That would more fit with the word censorship, I think.

    I respect Ben's right to rant … he could certainly have set the comments flag to off at the outset on this post. It was the disappearing ink that lead to the twitter and, btw, other comments from the peanut gallery. Ed Brill#
  12. he could certainly have set the comments flag to off at the outset on this post

    Yes I could. I forgot, and then did it too late. I guess I made a mistake.

    (As for losing a good 15 minutes of writing, come on now! This is the age of the internet and news feeds: nothing is lost with all these caches here, there and everywhere!)Ben Poole#
  13. @9: "Perhaps not. But you can clearly have an effect on IBM's customers."

    My argument is that you, Nathan, yes you, are the one that has raised this issue to such a high level of visibility. Volker and others have always called a spade a spade and have poked criticism at IBM for aspects of the Lotus Notes/Domino product.

    However, it is your (and John's) posts that have regularly brought this level of dispute to the obvious attention of those inside and *outside* of this community. I have had more customers flag up this community unrest in the last week than ever before, and they haven't been mentioning Volker's posts but yours…

    So with regard to the damage caused to CIOs opinions, I really don't think that you have the continual right to attack Ben, mine or anyone elses posts that fall outside your acceptability compass. You have your views of what a blog should represent and what content it should contain, we all have ours. Less celebrate those differences rather than causing discord by airing this dirty laundry in public, eh?Stuart McIntyre#
  14. Gawd. So basically if we say anything against 'the benefactor' - IBM - we then get the attack kittens and Ed himself herding them! Ben, obviously you've been a very naughty boy. Back in your box!

    And here's me thinking that I was alone on this!

    Tell you what Nathan/Ed. You tell us WHAT you'll permit US to say on OUR blogs. Then we can carefully craft any words around your delicate sensibilities ? Any guidelines ? Shall we all smile and give our best customer service voices ?

    ---* Bill "I've been talking crap on the internet for years and this is the first time I've seen rules" BuchanBill#
  15. Ben Poole#
  16. You are so banished, Bill. And Ben. And Stuart. Lang#

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