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Cincom is one of the largest commercial providers of Smalltalk, with twice as many partners and customers than other commercial providers.

Tom Nies

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Are We Always Marketing and Selling?

Posted on in Categories Marketing

Sales and Marketing: two extremely important words to some, but not as important to others.  However, whether we know it or not, each of us are always selling and marketing.

Take me for example. As I mentioned previously, my name is Jeremy Jordan, and I’m the Sr. Marketing Manager for Cincom Smalltalk™. Anyone who knows me or has been to my house knows that I’m an Ohio State football fan.  I mean a HUGE OHIO STATE FOOTBALL FAN.  Perhaps I can even be labeled as a “super fan.”  Proof? I have a fully decked-out Ohio State Man Cave (picture above for proof), attend at least one prime-time game per year, travel out of state for championship games (see below), collect all types of memorabilia, have Ohio State jerseys for every day of the week, wear OSU gear to Planet Fitness every morning and even have Ohio State vanity plates on my silver Camaro. Yes, even my car matches the famous “silver bullet” defense of Ohio State football. I watch each NFL draft to see where my “boys” go (I have three sons of my own, but I also consider Ohio State athletes my “boys”, too!) and then become a follower of those NFL teams, just so I can watch how my “boys” do after they leave Ohio State University.

I’ve been working for Cincom Systems, Inc. for 10 years now, and I still remember the day I interviewed at Cincom World Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. In that interview, when talking about my personal interests, I went on and on about Ohio State football. The funny thing was, the people in front of me in the interview (Suzanne Fortman, Arden Thomas and Jim Robertson) kept rolling their eyes. They weren’t having ANY of “Ohio State this and that.”  But I held my ground throughout the interview, and now, even Suzanne and Arden occasionally mention Ohio State football (especially when one of my “boys” helps their NFL team win).

Let’s flip this around to Smalltalk programmers. When you are with a group of Java programmers, for example, you hold your ground, don’t you?  And if you do it in a positive and informational way, you might convert them or pique their interests, if even a little bit.  Perhaps you might even get them to “try” Smalltalk and if they feel comfortable, they’ll start asking questions. A few questions lead to more questions and little by little, you might see someone share your passion for Smalltalk.

Because of this passion and my love for all things Ohio State, people approach me differently.  Sure, I have rivals (competitors) from other teams who like to razz me about OSU, but it’s never disrespectful. And if something unfortunate happens to one of my “boys,” even those rivals will console me and check in from time to time to see if the situation improved.  So, why am I telling you this story?

My story is the same with Smalltalk, or better yet, Smalltalkers. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. As a Smalltalker, are you approachable?
  2. Would a Java or Python user want to have a discussion about features and functionality the way people who know me talk about my OSU “boys” or players? 
  3. Do you make Smalltalk inviting and informative, or is it always confrontational?

Try this: Sell why you believe in Smalltalk, and give some examples of where your passion comes from. Market why you believe in Smalltalk. Just as I know about my football rivals and their teams, you should know enough about Rust, Java or Python to be able to compare or share what’s missing.

But above all, don’t alienate Smalltalk. Don’t disrespect other rival programming languages that compete with Smalltalk. Be inviting and inclusive to all.

We’ve seen it before … any negative talk at conferences or on social media can lose a newbie or EVEN an employer (more on this later).  Constantly complaining or badmouthing a Smalltalk competitor doesn’t grow the community, it actually pulls from it.  It alienates the Smalltalk community we all love. But in many ways, whether you think about it or believe it, it also alienates you, too. 

Like it or not, we are all in Sales and Marketing … even if it’s OURSELVES! If you were at an interview and had to sell yourself? What marketable qualities do you have? Do you always come across as negative or complaining?  If that’s your presence on social media, do you think someone would want to hire you as a full-time engineer?  What about as a consultant? Would they even want to do business with you? 

So be mindful! You never know who’s watching you and what you say publicly. For example, a new person who is quietly following you or others in the community might see constant bickering or complaining. Instead of being drawn to the benefits and joys of Smalltalk, those insults may push them towards Ruby, Dart or Rust … anywhere but Smalltalk!  But, let’s hit closer to home. What about a potential employer?  If a prospective employer is looking for someone to lead their development team or be a lead developer, a sales engineer or a new colleague to represent their company with Smalltalk, would they see a team player if they look at your social profile? This is definitely something to consider and think about.

So, if you truly love Smalltalk the way I love Ohio State football, you’ll want eager, positive, enthusiastic people joining your community … OUR community!  Start sharing your passion. Start talking up all the awesome things being done with Smalltalk. Lift up our “boys” (and “girls”—yes, Ohio State has some very successful women’s athletic programs, too!)  Be positive, informative and inviting.  Share those amazing facts, just not insults.  Remember, those little digs can create giant, gaping holes that may not ever be able to be repaired.

You never know who is watching you.