Now here is a true Blast from the Past from March 8, 2006 during the early days of "DevCo". This one ought to provoke some discussion. What of this list has actually come to pass?
Joe Mele tossed his name out there as the potential CEO of DevCo. Well, I'll throw my hat in the ring as well. And not only that, I'm here and now putting out my official plan of action for my reign as the leader of the premier development tools company.
My plan is divided into three different courses of action: What I'd do immediately, what I'd look into doing, and wild-ass ideas.
Here's what I'd do for sure right away, no questions asked:
- Put a full page ad in every issue of SDTimes -- I've asked about this before. I can't understand why Borland hasn't been doing this all along.
- Put the help in a Moderated Wiki -- As I understand it, this is in the works, but it really needs to happen. We all together can build a better help file than the Delphi Docs Team. No offense to them, but it's a big job.
- Release a "Delphi for .Net SDK". -- This totally needs to happen. The lack of a public compiler is killing the third-party Delphi market. Just killing it.
- Double, no Triple, no QUADRUPLE the budget for what is now BDN -- BDN will be even more important to DevCo. It's totally underfunded now. As the CEO of DevCo, I'd fix this right away.
- Double, no Triple, no QUADRUPLE the size of the documentation team. -- Somebody is going to have to manage all this inputs that we community members put into the Help Wiki.
- Provide a competitive upgrade price from any other development tool -- How are you going to woo VB6 developers without a competitive upgrade?
- Give every person in the company, all the way down to the cleaning crew, a copy of The ClueTrain Manifesto -- Oh man, this really, really, really needs to happen. Could there be a company that was less ClueTrain-ish that Borland?
- Plan, and announce as soon as possible, the new, improved, exciting DevCon -- Get the faithful together as soon as possible.
These are the things I'd look in to doing. I wouldn't necessary do them, but I'd throw them out there and look seriously at them:
- Find a way to aggressively pursue VB6 developers -- The field is still rich for the sowing. How can we get to these guys?
- Look into the right way to release a Standard/Personal/Free version of Delphi - This is hard. Sell a low end version, and people buy it instead of the more expensive versions. Don't have a low end, and you don't get students, hobbyists, and other new folks on board. There has to be a way to solve this.
- Look into instituting a subscription selling model -- Smooth out the development cycle and the revenues.
- Sell licenses (not boxes, just licenses) of any version of Delphi -- There are folks out there using older versions of Delphi, and DevCo should make it easy to expand the size of their development team. Or, put another way, if people want to buy something you have, sell it to them.
- Revitalize and release NDatastore -- This product would simply rock, and the entire .Net development world would buy it, not just Delphi users.
- Open up "DevCo Press", using on-demand printing technology -- On-Demand printing will keep costs way down, make keeping multiple titles available, and allow for more esoteric topics to be available.
- Institute an Affiliate program, allowing people to sell Delphi from their websites -- the more folks selling and promoting Delphi the better.
- Look at harnessing the power of the community
- Club DevCo -- figure out ways for folks to earn points by being good community members. Points can earn free stuff.
- Free marketing materials to anyone who asks -- put together a package the ordinary folks can use to promote Delphi. Give it to anyone who asks.
- Free bumper stickers and other swag -- get the word out ASAP.
- Look into buying/merging with/closely partnering with FinalBuilder, AutomatedQA, Altova, Modelmaker and Castalia -- These folks make products that Delphi developers want.
- Add syntax highlighters for Ruby and Python for starters -- These to languages are just getting too popular to ignore
- Release a VS.NET version of ECO - ECO is awesome technology. Consider letting the VS.NET guys in on it. They'll pay.
Here are a few ideas that are really out there, but worth at least thinking about:
- Integrating a VB6 personality into BDS -- why not? That would be one way to get them involved.
- Add a personality for Python and/or Ruby -- Do this after the AJAX personality.
Just a few thoughts for the new CEO, whoever it ends up being.