Reader Feedback on Power Systems i: Thinking Inside the Box
December 14, 2009 Hi Tim,
Well, I understand that you’re president of your publication, as I am of mine. Since both of us are making a living and a nice profit on what we’re doing, I don’t think there’s much stupidity going on either here or in your office.
Really now, what does it serve to throw a rock in my direction?
“I think the first thing to realize is that things could be worse. Imagine if this newsletter was called The Three Thousand and all of us, seeing the incredible RISC technology that Hewlett-Packard had on deck for its future PA-RISC workstations and servers in the late 1980s, had banked our careers on the MPE operating system, with its own integrated database management system and COBOL applications.”
“None of us were that stupid, of course.”
If you want to think that it’s a matter of stupidity, I am sorry you’re jumping to playground analysis. You could track down the Fortune 500 companies who have diverged from HP’s master plan to shed a product in the wake of the Compaq merger. You might even find a CIO who’d take issue with your slapdash label. But that would require some even-handed analysis. Plus, an admission that this state of affairs is just one boardroom meeting away from landing in your lap.
(Best of luck, by the way, in making a profit for eight years after IBM tells your readership and sponsor community the end will arrive soon.)
My partner and I took a hard look in 2002 at establishing lasting ties with the AS/400 community. What we saw was a mirror image of the 3000 customer, being served by a couple of established publishers. Frankly, they didn’t need us, and the 3000 customer has shown scant interest in becoming an AS/400 fan.
Although I’m still puzzled about that last outcome, it’s not a matter of superior architecture or even IBM’s polished hegemony that dictate why you can make sport of the 3000 community’s struggles, and this newsletter by inference. I figure you don’t know I’m a journalist of 25 years covering IT. I don’t see a lot of fun being poked at other media outlets to varnish a legacy choice with feel-good exultations. The AS/400 just leaned on critical mass that my market never gained, while yours did. Maybe it was momentum from the days when IBM had more enterprise customers than HP.
I remember when your byline appeared in places other than the AS/400 world. Some Unix newsletter, good for its day, maybe? I wonder how that’s working out for everybody, now that Linux is emasculating a vendor’s proprietary market. It’s simplistic to think that the correct choice of technology and community will outlast anything but the typical IT reader’s remaining work lifespan. Most of ours are well beyond 40 years of age. Perhaps it’s the same as your reader profile. Last time I looked at a COMMON conference, I saw the same host of people like me who can remember TV shows from the 1960s.
If there was stupidity afoot anyplace, it was in the HP boardroom when Carly Fiorina choked off the (modest) profit and revenues from the 3000 market. Enjoy the ride on the AS/400 train, my friend. We’re all retiring, systems and Editor in Chief, someday. I just hope nobody’s going to have a good time dancing around your eventual demise when your day comes.
Disappointed at a professional colleague’s misstep,
Ron Seybold, Editor, 3000 NewsWire
You are absolutely right. “Stupid” was not the right choice of words, and I said it flippantly on a late Friday when I was working too late, as usual. “Unfortunate” would have been a better word. Believe me, I have no desire to dance on anyone, alive or dead. I was simply making a theoretical comparison to what I thought was a non-existent but possible newsletter, a possible future that I might have lived. It did not occur to me to look for 3000 NewsWire, or to think that it might still exist after so many years of HP 3000 neglect from Hewlett-Packard.
As for your long career, I have one as well. You may be 25 years in this racket, but I am close behind with 21 and counting. And I have always had to have two jobs–one covering the AS/400 and one covering everything else in Server Land as IT changes. If anybody will be dancing when my day comes to retire as editor of a newsletter, let me as assure you, it will be me. Hopefully not for too many years, but you never know. But just the same, if you want to dance on my retirement, I had it coming to me. Hell, I will even send you a homebrew to make it interesting and we can toast our respective proprietary platforms. If you are at all like me, you feel the HP 3000 is as much yours as it was HP’s, just like I sometimes think of the AS/400 as my own to care for, which I could have done much better than IBM has done. For certain.