Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Thanks, but no thanks

I received a comment yesterday.

Now you have got over the shock, I thought I would write a post in reply as I can not edit the comment and remove the personal details and I felt it deserved a full reply. I would not normally turn it into a full post (well, I might if I had more comments) but even though it was short, it raises an issue that is dear to my heart.

Hi PivDev,
Thanks for your honest feedback.
I am a product manager who works for Pivotal and would love to get some more feedback on some of your posts.
Feel free to contact me @



Now, XXXX is not their real name and the email address has been changed so I am not blamed for filling this persons inbox. I am hoping that you realised this but thought I would make sure ;)

The commenter, lets call them Alan to ease my typing, was commenting on my last post Live In Action - Statue Style, which, if you haven’t read it (shame on you), raised a few issues with Sedna and the “demo” that was given of a customers system.

Whilst I would relish an email conversation about the current state of Pivotal 6 with a product manager at CDC, my anonymity whilst writing this blog means more to me. I am sure, with a bit of digging, anyone that is bothered could find out who I really am but I want to keep this blog anonymous for some selfish reasons, mainly keeping my family in bread and water and being able to talk about what I want without the dreaded spectre of upsetting current & future employers and being out of a job looming over me.

I also feel these conversations about the product direction and problems with Pivotal in alls it’s incarnations should be aired in the public arena to increase the knowledge available to the community. A community for any product or service, whether it is a business tool, game or device, only helps the product or service. Look how Salesforce & MS CRM has flourished because of the external groups making (and selling) functionality, discussing problems, and helping each other out with issues and solutions. You can also look at the communities around online games, media streaming products and other devices to see that they help evolve the product.

A social network may not add directly to the CDC Software bottom line, but a strong community encourages everyone to push the product to it’s limits, giving everyone more options in deploying to their end users, increasing the likelihood that the product is not replaced by something else and, more importantly, encouraging new customers to sign up when they search Google and see several sites full of information about how to do things.

I feel that CDC is not doing a tenth of what they could do in terms of encouraging this behaviour. Yes there are the official forums and the unofficial version, but where is the blog from a Pivotal insider? Where is the RSS feed of new patches & hotfixes? Where is the online Wiki(I know this has been tried unofficially, but seems to have fallen by the wayside)? Where are the online chats with Professional Services experts to answer questions and give advice? All this stuff is easy to create and develop, and probably would take very little encouragement for those of us who rely on Pivotal for a living to contribute to and little expenditure from CDC to organise.

This becomes apparent to me when I visit other customers. Everyone implements Pivotal in a different way, one of it’s key benefits over other CRM platforms (I am looking at you, SAP), but there are no samples around about how other users have done certain things, apart from those available in the official & unofficial forums. Mark Lyseyko’s (I hope I spelt that right) Tech Tips is good, but in the wrong format - try using this to search for some way of accomplishing a task.

What this, once again, long post (apologies if you got this far) boils down to is I hope that Alan does not take too unkindly to me not taken him up on his offer, and I hope I have let you all know why I think I shouldn’t. If Alan reads this, I would be happy to have a conversation with him over comments in the blog if he wants to address some of the points raised here or in earlier posts.

No comments: