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Symbolics Marketing Strategy

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Date: Thu, 25 Jan 90 15:54 PST
From: Robert D. Pfeiffer <RDP@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>
Subject: Symbolics Marketing Strategy
To: SLUG@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com
In-Reply-To: <19900124171552.6.TAYLOR@ROMAN-A-CLEF.arc.nasa.gov>
Message-ID: <19900125235414.1.RDP@THOMAS.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>

    Date: Wed, 24 Jan 90 09:15 PST
    From: taylor@CHARON.arc.nasa.gov (will taylor)


    I propose that Symbolics bundle CLIM, Concordia, Statice, & Joshua into
    Genera for NO increase in software purchase/maintenance costs to users.
    Then agressively market these capabilities which would now be part of 
    the basic Symbolics Genera operating system. Then instead of sales reps
    saying ".. we have these dynamite productivity systems (CLIM, Concordia, 
    Statice, & Joshua) .... but ahem, it will cost you an ''arm and a leg'' ...",
    they can say that this group of productivity systems (nice phrase?) is
    standard with the basic operating system. This will result is more users 
    saying " .. I want to get my hands on a Symbolics 3650, XL400, MacIvory, 
    UX400S, etc because besides the unsurpassed (but the hounds are rapidly
    closing) development environment, I can program PORTABLE applications
    using CLtL, CLOS, & CLIM; AND I can development state of the art
    documentation systems, object oriented data base systems, and expert
    systems on Symbolics platforms .. ". Then Symbolics sells more Ivory
    boards and market penetration increases, etc.

    Symbolics desparately needs a "dramatic" software marketing stategy
    to stay afloat and the above is my suggestion for part of it.

    - Will Taylor         taylor@pluto.arc.nasa.gov

First, my disclaimer:

I freely acknowledge that determining a sound marketing (and pricing)
strategy for Symbolics is very non-trivial.  I certainly don't pretend
to know more about Symbolics' business than Symbolics does.

That being said, on with the unsolicited marketing advice. :-)

I generally agree with the idea of bundling some of this functionality
into Genera.  For me, this is somewhat paradoxical because I would
generally favor a software strategy with many unbundled components (let
the customer buy exactly what they want and nothing more -- let them
start small and grow incrementally).  If we look at the products on a
case by case basis, however, you'll (hopefully) see my rationale.


As the new "de facto industry standard" this really seems like
it should be integrated (bundled) into Genera.  I think it's a fair
analogy to ask whether continuing to support Zetalisp in Genera while
selling SCL as a layered product would be a good idea.  Same issue for
Flavors and CLOS.


We find that Concordia really shines for doing serious software project
development (although it still has a few "rough edges").  We use it for
writing the design documentation and the user documentation with the
additional benefit that we can also implement on on-line help system that
has 90%+ overlap with the user documentation.  Because it is such a
general purpose a software development tool (and it includes the Graphic
Editor which is also very generally useful), I would favor seeing it be
included in Genera.


As a persistent object system, this also seems like very "core"
functionality.  It sure beats the heck out of using DUMP-FORMS-TO-FILE.
I'm a little bit more on the fence on this one but I can see some pretty
strong reasons for including it, also, as a bundled part of Genera.


Joshua seems to me to be a reasonable layered product.  I don't see any
compelling reason to include it as part of Genera.  (Although I could
imagine one; to wit, that Inference has grabbed the market and
Symbolics wants to force it's way back in -- but this is pure
speculation on my part.)  I should mention that I've never used Joshua
(though I hope to relatively soon).