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Meeting with Ken Tarpey, VP Customer Service, Symbolics
Friends: This is a brief and informal report on my meeting with Ken
Tarpey on Thursday, 8 February. I had hoped to have further details to
present to you by now and hence have delayed the report. Unfortunately
I have not heard from and cannot reach Ken, and I do not want to delay
further. You should therefore consider the opening, general comments
below as to be re-affirmed. I hope that further details will be
forthcoming from Symbolics shortly.
Ken flew from Boston expressly to see me, and despite cancelled
flights and delays. It was an excellent meeting, frank on both
sides I believe, and I think it represents the potential for a
stronger relationship between SLUG and Symbolics than ever before.
Of particular interest but only slowly-emerging detail is a
clarification of strategic direction on Symbolics' part. One
summary might be that Symbolics, now more than ever, is trying to
respond to users' stated needs. I am hearing, I think for the
first time, consistent, complete and persuasive arguments for
where Symbolics will go --- "will", because many details are still
to be worked out, tested and checked. Hence I apologize for what
may seem to be only a tease, but Symbolics must be allowed some
short period of time in which to solidify its plans. I have asked
that announcements be made ASAP, for additional delays on top of
recent financial news would only work against the company's
Our past relationship and SLUG-90 was discussed as well.
Regarding individual items between Symbolics and SLUG, especially
as discussed at our recent meeting in December:
SLUG Liaison: Ken himself will be the primary contact between SLUG and
Symbolics. He has in fact proven himself accessible since the start of
his tenure. Given his high level within the organization and his past
close associations with user groups, this should afford excellent
relations. Reza Seddigh will be our contact from Customer Service; Kim
Cook from Symbolics Marketing (also for SLUG-90, given her location in
Burlington); others have not yet been named but will be, by Ken as
Communciations to users: I understand that improvements in
communications to the sales offices (e.g., regular FAX network
communiques) have been made and the impact of these will be felt.
As suggested by SLUG, the publication "Symposium" will be
re-evaluated. A letter to users concerning details of 8.0 is being
drafted. We must wait to see the effects of the new communications in
information available to individual users.
Bug tracker: Ken is still holding to his promise of a facility
being available in 120 days from our 15 December meeting.
Consultancy: SLUG will be in contact to Symbolics to discuss
opening out the relationship between "3rd Party Consultants" and
Symbolics' Consulting Group.
Software Transfer License Fees (on used machines): It has been agreed
that the fee will be "waived unconditionally" on machines being acquired
by educational institutions. On other transfers, the $10K fee will be
waived under the condition that the new owner sign up for 1 year of
software maintenance for whatever software is being transferred, which
is around $1.5K for basic Genera. We await a complete statement of the
policy, but the overall direction seems appropriate.
"C"/LISP White Paper: SLUG awaits this report, hoped for as an aid
to arguing the case to management and clients.
36-oh-oh and 36xx family de-commissioning: specifics to follow,
but the overall policy of 1 year notice on removing systems from
maintenance will hold. Ken promised to provide some advance
warning on the 36-oh-oh, in addition to the 1 year, so that users
can give some response to the timing. Policy on the entire 36xx
family would be considered in the summer, for implementation
roughly in the fall. 36-oh-oh word would probably be sooner.
Please consider the above report an invitation for discussion, and
requests for additional details will be respected. The more we discuss
the issues and press for clarification on future directions, the better.
Paul Pangaro, President
National Symbolics LISP Users' Group
c/o PANGARO Incorporated
800 3rd Street NE
Washington, DC 20002 USA
FAX : 202-547-6910