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Meeting with Ken Tarpey, VP Customer Service, Symbolics

    Date: Wed, 21 Feb 90 11:42 EST
    From: pan@Athena.Pangaro.Dialnet.Symbolics.Com (Paul Pangaro)

    Friends: This is a brief and informal report on my meeting with Ken
    Tarpey on Thursday, 8 February. 


    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 hope I'm not jumping the gun on this since you allude to the fact that
there is more in the works than we are hearing about.  But since you
invited discussion at the end of the message, here goes:

If I were to generalize the single most important need that we have in
my group which has not been met by Symbolics, I would say that it is in
the "packaging" of the Symbolics products.  We could really make great
use of the underlying technology in Concordia and Statice, for example,
but their "rough edges" and NON-seamless integration with the rest of
Genera has really caused us headaches.  I could go into much more
elaborate detail about the specifics but I want to be brief in this
message and focus on the high-level issue.  That issue is that we could
really use the technologies of both hypertext and shared, persistent
objects but we don't have the developer resources to effectively
integrate Concordia and Statice, as they stand now, into our

I still think that a viable short-term tactic for Symbolics at this point is
to bundle Concordia and Statice back into Genera.  I know that I've said
this before and that others disagree with me (it flies in the face of
the wisdom that says you want to unbundle everything).  But I think the
problem is that Symbolics attempted to "productize" their latest and
greatest technology prematurely and, the fact of the matter is (no
offense intended to anyone at Symbolics), THEY GOT IT WRONG!  (I say
with my 20-20 hindsight)

What they really need now is a gameplan by which they can eventually
capitalize on the (excellent) technology represented by these (less than
excellent) products and not let it go to waste.  What I would expect
this proposed bundling to accomplish is to allow the full Symbolics
development staff to more clearly perceive what the "missing pieces"
are.  In other words, the major problem I see with these products in
their current, unbundled forms is that they have fragmented the internal
development efforts at Symbolics and left critical blind spots in the
overall system.

Of course, one of the major problems with my suggestion is that it would
be terrible to leave the customers who have shelled out $$$ for these
products feeling that they got screwed.  Some creative marketing tactic
is definitely in order (although I don't have any particular
suggestion -- perhaps a discounted or free hardware upgrade to paying
Concordia or Statice customers when these products becomed bundled into
Genera or some such scheme).


    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.

One thing I would like to see is a regularly published and effectively
distributed publication about what's new with Symbolics.  I guess that's
what "Symposium" is (was) supposed to be but I've never even seen a
copy.  Lucid does a good job getting me Lucid Moments each quarter and
I'm not even a customer of theirs (yet).  I see no reason why Symbolics
shouldn't be able to do as well (i.e. maintain a distribution list and
make sure a quarterly publication gets to everyone on it -- PARTICULARLY


I think I've used up my two cents worth.