[Evangelism] Re: Plone Messaging

Dylan Jay djay at pretaweb.com
Wed May 6 15:03:28 UTC 2009

On 06/05/2009, at 7:18 PM, Hanno Schlichting wrote:

> Matt Hamilton wrote:
>> On 6 May 2009, at 01:44, Ross Patterson wrote:
>>> These kind of messages are not largely or exclusively technically,
>>> marketing, or user oriented.  They require a cohesion of all  
>>> concerns.
>>> Maybe I'm trying to be structural about something that shouldn't be
>>> addressed that way.  It does seem, however, that this is a  
>>> significant
>>> challenge for our communities.  No?
>> I see what you are getting at here.  I think one event that does do a
>> lot for this is the Plone Conference keynote by Alan and Alex. Or the
>> 'what coming up in release X'  talks that Alex usually does.  These
>> generally focus on what is coming up feature-wise and I think do a  
>> lot
>> to set expectations of what is coming up. Now I know that Alex is  
>> often
>> (and I hope you don't mind me saying this Alex) quite ambitious in  
>> his
>> visions for Plone in some of these talks, but I think that is a good
>> thing.
> I have been sitting with a big smile in my face in all keynotes I
> attended, knowing that half of what our founders where talking about  
> was
> not to be taken too seriously ;)
> I think we do have two types of messaging going on here. One is the  
> real
> marketing messaging to our customers. These better only promise  
> features
> and directions that are based on some good ground, as in whatever is
> actually released or in late beta / release candidates.
> The other one is part of the community conversation about where we are
> headed. It's trying to build consensus or set expectations on where we
> should go. The keynotes do have a bit of both, but a talk from  
> Alexander
> about the Future of the Plone UI is pretty much completely in the  
> later
> scope. Another aspect of these internal conversations is also to  
> attract
> people to the idea. If you have an idea that you cannot technically or
> time-wise implement, you need to market the idea to the community,  
> so it
> is on the one side accepted as something we should do but on the other
> hand you also need to attract someone who wants to do it for you.
> Thanks to our open discussion nature we do have the conversation about
> what to do next in the same open way as everything else. If an  
> outsider
> mistakes these as factual promises on some deliverables he has a bit
> more to learn about Open Source. What you can count on is what is
> released in a final version. This holds true for commercial vendors in
> the same way, which might remove a feature from a late beta release.

Persoanly I think that there isn't an issue with the messages about  
future features of Plone. There's some fantastic ideas going into the  
new version and some great people working on it, as well as many  
leasson learned.
I think perhaps what isn't working well and what Ross means by  
messaging is communicating what Plone is now. We all understand it  
because we're Plone experts but others wanting to engage with Plone  
don't have that advantage.

The hardest message to get out is what Plone is to people who don't  
know its details. For instance to developers who haven't used a CMS,  
or who are familar to other CMSs. To explain it business managers, or  
goverment strategists, or NGO CTO's. These people typically don't have  
much time but need to make decisions to take further steps toward  
Plone or toward a competitor.
Perhaps we need single, simple, effective yet truth messages about  
Plone. Messages that are repeated in marketting material, web content,  
documentation etc. But thats really hard to do, even by paid  
professionals. Its also hard to do when picking one message might  
upset members who see Plone differently. Unfortunatly many messages  
and opinions make for a confused message which is just too hard work  
for outsiders to decipher. But it's important for us to try right?

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