iManifest U.S. Looking for a New Spearhead
September 27, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It’s not easy doing IBM‘s marketing job for it while also trying to make a living, as many of us out there in AS/400 Land know full well. When a United States arm of the iManifest movement needed a spearhead, Jeff Olen, who is the chief operating officer at the IBM i consultancy that bears his name, Olen Business Consulting, volunteered. But Olen can no longer be the leader for iManifest U.S., and so, he needs one of you to step in and do the job.
Olen posted the following message on the LinkedIn group for iManifest U.S:
My apologies for my long absence from the iManifest LinkedIn group and in fact from iManifest in general.
In the past few months I have been forced to re-evaluate the projects to which I have dedicated my time and make some difficult decisions. One of those decisions affects my involvement (or recently my lack of involvement) with iManifest. I am no longer going to invest my time in developing and leading the iManifest movement here in the U.S. This was not an easy decision but for me and my family it is the right one.
Since I would hate to see iManifest disappear altogether I’d like to call for volunteers to take up the torch.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and can commit the time to keep the movement alive.
Thanks to all of you for your support over the last year.
As of the COMMON midrange trade show in early May, iManifest U.S. consisted of Olen, Mike Pavlak, the PHP-i solution consultant at Zend Technologies, retired System/38 and AS/400 chief architect Frank Soltis, and nine software companies that have joined the effort, including LANSA, ProData Computer Services, Raz-Lee Security, DRV Technologies, BCD, New Generation Software, Quadrant Software, Xperia, and Linoma Software.
Don’t look at me. I already have two jobs, two young kids who run me hither and yon, a presidency of the co-op apartment building I live in, and a wife who probably wonders some days when I am going to crack or start smoking it. The team here at IT Jungle is already doing its bit for the IBM i community, grinding it out every week, and this is job one for us. It is what we can do for the community, and I think we do a very good job. I suspect that all of you are overburdened just like Olen is, and hence I do not expect to see a lot of takers to Olen’s offer.
And thus I suggest that the three different iManifest groups merge and come up with a part-time stipend to compensate a single director to do the coordinating work for the unified iManifest. Time is money, and you need to pay people for it if you expect to get results. Alternatively, the ISV vendor community could elect someone to run iManifest for a one-year term of office from inside of its own ranks. The real problem is not having someone to run iManifest, but getting it to have a marketing budget akin to the tens of millions it rightfully needs to have an impact. If volunteer time is a lot to ask, such a pile of cash is a lot to ask for, which is why I suggested a long time ago that iManifest should solicit donations from actual IBM i users and get matching funds from the ISVs. The proper model is how National Public Radio gets done in this country. I don’t have time, but I can cut a reasonable check to help the cause. So can all of you.
This is no different than a grassroots political campaign, and it sorely needs a plank. Something crazy, like buying the IBM i platform from Big Blue through donations.
I would be surprised if the Power Systems-IBM i business had more than 6,000 to 7,000 employees actually dedicated to it, and it is very likely that there are only a few thousand doing the software stack. So if you just bought the software stack from IBM and had maybe 3,000 employees at a $1 billion company that resold Power Systems hardware (like Bull in France already does), you might be able to raise the equity from the user base to do the deal. With around 250,000 programmers, system admins, IT managers, and so forth all kicking in $4,000 a pop to own shares in the company, you could pull it off. Yes, that is a lot of money, but have you looked at Google and Apple shares lately, or the price of an ounce of gold?
I would do some extra consulting work myself to come up with that dough to own an actual stake in this business. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Can we tempt Big Sam with $1 billion and a reseller agreement for his Power iron? And set our own prices and use the business to actually pay for its own marketing?