New levels of transparency

October 15 2009

Most of the comments in yesterday's posting about Domino Designer and Domino Express customers are along the lines of "here's what you [Ed/IBM] should do".  It struck me as I scrolled to about comment 28 this morning, we are having a truly remarkable and transparent discussion.

My team and I have been working on the 8.5.1 changes to the Notes/Domino licensing/packaging for most of 2009.  A few of you participated in an NDA focus group back in June, where we floated some of the proposal -- including deliberately provocative things that weren't even under consideration.  We essentially finalized the business plan in July, then spent August and September sweating the implementation details.  A large number of IBMers were involved in making it all successfully happen -- I haven't finished writing thank you notes yet.

All of that happened behind the scenes.  Sure, there were hints and accidents along the way.  If you knew where to look, we actually discussed some of the plan components publicly, sort of like an automobile manufacturer who tests a new car design with a tarp/cloth covering and gets caught by Jim Dunne of Popular Mechanics.  The Lotus Knows IdeaJam was a huge help in validating some of our thinking -- again, without anyone realizing that the very discussions were taking place inside Big Blue.  Even with all of that, we progressed down the path mostly shrouded in the cone of silence demanded by making major changes to an existing business.  If we had leaked the plans early, it could have affected our day-to-day sales activities, before we were ready.  

Now that the news is out, something interesting is happening in the discussions.  Because we have demonstrated that there is room for new thinking, the comments are getting creative.  I am hearing a lot more of "you should think about ..." and "why don't you do ..." statements.  Now, I still can't telegraph future plans or possibilities in public.  That aspect doesn't change.  What does change, though, and in a most welcoming way, is that you all are as willing to "think different" as my team and I are.  That was clearly demonstrated in the Lotus Knows IdeaJam, even as much as some of the ideas were ones we had heard before.  With more community input, it is a heck of a lot easier to go have the internal "what if" discussions.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm immediately going to be able to take on a whole next chapter in additional changes.  But having made a number of significant improvements to the Notes/Domino business, the precedent is set.  As I said along the way, we're not going to accept business as usual -- and we are listening.

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