From my inbox

by Volker Weber

In reference to this post, I received a little email today — from IBM:

I can barely contain my pleasure at seeing your post on the future (or lack thereof.. ) of Workplace. ... Volker - you are amazing where you get your information. The source where IBM gets it first. ... Always accurate - always the truth.

So where do I get my information? I talk to people, people talk to me. You get a little bit of information here, you ask somebody else, you get some more, and over time you get into the picture. There is no magic. Just a large network. The information is all there, but you can't get to it easily. The corporate world is a lot like China — only much smaller.

vowe's rule of observation: If you are on a cruise, you have to leave the ship to actually see it.


Not revealing your sources also helps :-)

Carl Tyler, 2006-06-14

Inside the ship you won't see it sinking... Being outside helps.

Alex Boschmans, 2006-06-14

@Alex - well, if you are in the engine room or the lower decks, sweating away doing your job, you often do see the ship sinking more rapidly than the guys upstairs - but you may not be too confident of how best to go about telling them ....

Nick Daisley, 2006-06-14

Alex and Nick, the ship isn't sinking. There are just not that many passengers. Maybe because they don't understand the brochures, maybe because they are not looking for a cruise ship.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Carl, from a journalistic point of view you are right, revealing the sources may be bad, as you usually want to keep them feeding you. From a philological point of view this is totally different. Not revealing the source does destroy the trust in the message sometimes totally. You remember the hoax-mails with virus-warnings saying "... according to sources inside IBM there is a new virus ..... please send this to as many people ......"

Unfortunately "Joe Public" sees this as trustworthy, but it is in no way, as you know. It makes you believe in a good source, but in fact, the source was not given. This is the way that most if not even almost all of FUD is originating.

As vowe has taken an explosive matter with his post and as it does matter alot to me personaly, I remembered my original profession conducting a little bit of philological analysis on the subject. Hence, Volker, I may be a bit provocative here, please don't take it personally, I hope, this will shed some light inside the darkness.

Volker, not giving the source destroys the trust (see above). Combined with a title "Workplace is dead....." this makes a perfect article fitting into the yellow press (like Bild for the German readers) and makes you guilty to use "Yellow Journalism" to attrackt readers. This of course makes one wonder, if the content is reality or fantasy, as all of you know, for the yellow press that does not really matter. The goal is not to inform, the goal is to get readers .....

Another really important thing: How trustworthy is the birdie you are claiming to whispering to you? From inside IBM - people out of the technical Workplace group - I was told some weeks ago, that IBM was considering to bundling the Managed Client with Workplace Services Express. If you are reading Bobs article, which gives a good overview over the product, you get the impression, that even insiders, that should know better, don't really know, what the product itself is. So the question, at which level is this birdie and how good informed is it? And may it be, that there is somebody trying to get out some FUD by purpose?

"the ship isn't sinking. there are just not that many passengers"

This is contradicting to "Workplace is dead". Yet another technique of the Yellow Press: Shift the target, if someone wants to know the details.

Of course, there are other possibilities to build trust in a message beside disclosing the source, so I ask you, vowe, to give me hints about how authentic this message is, otherwise I plead your posting to be guilty in building up FUD.


Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-06-14

Two things: Sources and the story itself.

Sources: Of course you want to know the sources. But I can't give them to you. The sources trust me, and I cannot betray them. You build trust relationships over years, but you lose them in seconds. The same holds true for your trust in me. Look at my track record. How often have I betrayed you. And why would I?

Story: It's not the technology that is dead. It's the branding, which is not selling the product. Is IBM giving up on this technology? No way. The Workplace brand isn't sticking. The Websphere brand is. Naming the WCS stuff "Websphere Portal Components" is so much better, because it explains what they really are. In just one word: Components. IBM may choose to call them services, because they like that word better. But it is clearly inferior to components.

Now for Workplace Forms and Workplace for Employee Execution and all the other things I cannot name, I can't tell you what the best branding exercise would be.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Oh, and as far as the Workplace Managed Client is concerned. I have no idea, how they should successfully name that beast. My belief is that they will continue to play the Workplace card there. IBM also has started to talk about WED (Websphere Everyplace Deployment) so I can take a hint from there. Here is an idea: What about "IBM Managed Desktop"?

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Re "Workplace for Employee Execution" -- IBM don't need to bring this product to market. Some of Big Blue's large customers have their own ways of killing enthusiasm / hope in their employees... ;o)

Ben Poole, 2006-06-14

"The sources trust me, and I cannot betray them."

Yes, thats why I said, it makes sense from a journalistic point of view. But then, you should give other means, that is building up plausibility. Now in your answer you have given such hints, and really good ones. Thanks for them. My conclusion up to now: "Workplace is dead" was a bad title, absolutely in the "Yellow Press" style, it does not help much, that you took it back somewhat by saying, but the components are healthy. For the time beeing, the first post without your explanations is just crap/FUD in the eyes of the serious analyst, so we now got the missing parts.

Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-06-14

Sorry, Jens, I am not taking your yellow press bait.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Well, thats your right of course. But be aware, that the word "dead" is a very, very, very strong word, and even from what you have said now, "Workplace is dead" is simply said wrong.

Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-06-14

Sorry again, Jens, I am not biting.

I have seen enough Lotus products not getting any traction. Symphony, Improv, Domino.Action, Domino.Merchant, Domino.Broadcast, eSuite, K-station, Discovery Server, just to name a few. They were never declared "dead".

Let's do a little test: Name a few Workplace Messaging customers. Or if you can't, tell me how many customers this product needs to be "not dead". How about SmartSuite? Dead or not? How many customers are using SmartSuite, compared to Workplace Collaboration Services?

When would you walk away from a brand that is not selling.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Volker, thats really not the point at all. Your posting does not give any reason, that may suffice to call Workplace dead. A renaming or rebranding is in no way a reason to call a product dead.

Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-06-14

Jens, you are absolutely right. 'e's not dead, 'e's resting. Can we move on now?

Volker Weber, 2006-06-14

Oh yes, in its infantility it probably needs some rest ...... ;-)

Jens-B. Augustiny, 2006-06-14


I believe that to the loyal Notes and Domino types who were led to believe that Workplace was the future. To them Workplace is now good as dead.

Bruce Elgort, 2006-06-14


You've struck the perfect definition of the situtation in your last comment - if Workplace wasn't nailed to it's perch it wouldn't be standing.


Daniel Wright, 2006-06-14

Better yet, the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene from Holy Grail:

CUSTOMER: Here's one.
CART MASTER: Ninepence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CART MASTER: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
CART MASTER: He isn't?
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
CART MASTER: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go on the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
CART MASTER: I can't take him.
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Well, do us a favour.
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
CART MASTER: No, I've got to go to the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
CUSTOMER: Well, when's your next round?
CART MASTER: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: [singing] I feel happy. I feel happy.
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
CART MASTER: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
CUSTOMER: Right. All right.


Bob Congdon, 2006-06-15

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