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

Tom Nies

Smalltalk Digest: August Edition

Smalltalk DigestWelcome to the August 2019 edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest.  In this valuable edition, we will talk about the following:

  • What Results Came from a Recent Tech Meetup and How Has That Feedback Changed Our Approach?
  • What Other Networking Opportunities Are Coming Up?
  • Are You Ready for an Amazing Opportunity to Grow Your Business?
  • Celebrating the Birth of Cincom Smalltalk, Final Installment
  • The Surprising Secret of Creating a Twitter List
  • Helpful Customer Links and Information
  • Popular Product Resources

What Results Came from a Recent Tech Meetup and How Has That Feedback Changed Our Approach?

The Cincom Smalltalk Product Team has the unique privilege of working with all aspects of the Smalltalk product line globally, while being actively engaged in customer, partner and user relationships. This includes frequent users who have used Cincom Smalltalk for years, as well as new users who come in looking for a new option for their application development needs.

Many of you that read this newsletter know that Cincom Smalltalk Program Director and Engineering Manager, Suzanne Fortman, wears many hats, with one being that of “Evangelist.”  She goes around the world and represents Cincom and Cincom Smalltalk in conferences and user groups that are either related to Smalltalk or the development community as a whole.  She reconnects with old friends and meets new ones while engaging with them about what their application development needs are and what problems we can help solve.  This is a CRITICAL step for why this type of Evangelism is so important and one that we’ll focus more on in this segment.

At one recent developer event, while having discussions with some of the attendees, she learned about some upcoming meetups that really sparked her interest for Cincom Smalltalk. Once the event was over, Suzanne began talking to these meetup organizers and they liked the idea of Cincom being a guest at their upcoming monthly meetup.  The first one was the Seattle Software Crafters in Seattle, WA. This group is a diverse community of software professionals who are “passionate about making great software together.” According to their meetup website, they are committed to continuously learning better ways of producing software, sharing with and learning from each other and setting the standard for ethics, quality and mutual respect for all.  And from the feedback we received after the meetup, these words could not be truer.

At the meetup itself, Carl Gundel and Suzanne noted that there were about 40 attendees, some of whom were already Smalltalk-aware, even name-dropping Adele Goldberg.  During the hour to hour-and-a-half before the presentation started, Suzanne answered many questions about Cincom and Cincom Smalltalk customers, as well as “where are they now”-type questions about Adele, Kent Beck and Alan Kay among others.

As the presentation started, Suzanne introduced Cincom and how Smalltalk came to be at Cincom (more on that history below). Suzanne was also able to share her personal testimony of how she got started with Smalltalk and also came to work at Cincom.

When it was time for Carl to present, he came in and added a developer perspective, giving a short history of Smalltalk, recounting the very interesting way it came to be while explaining some of the very special qualities that set it apart from other languages.  He then began talking about his own personal discovery of Smalltalk and the way that it made it possible for him to revolutionize the factory where he worked.

As Carl told the group, “My first Smalltalk project didn’t just succeed.  It went from a no starter to beyond my wildest expectations.” 

During Carl’s presentation, the group was pretty quiet until one of them asked him for a specific and simple demo. At that point, he finally started getting questions from the audience. The back and forth with these questions and answers became the most valuable part of the session because the attendees finally began hearing this discussion in their own language.

The simple demo request, not Hello World, but a basic data/HR example requested by an attendee, allowed the group to get involved more and started asking questions like, “how would you do this?”, “where is this?”, “how did you do that?” and “where would I start?” 

After the presentation was over, Carl commented,

“I was very excited to be asked to speak to the Seattle Software Crafters.  I have been involved in many different kinds of Smalltalk projects, and my own intro to Smalltalk is an interesting story, so I was hoping that story would resonate with other software developers.”

Why Are These Events So Important?

After the meetup was over, Suzanne noticed a lot of Twitter activity and requests for the Personal Use License of Cincom Smalltalk. She also began noticing lately on Twitter that there were a few “cool” projects going on with other Smalltalk providers. Although in the past at Smalltalk user group meetings, she has shared her recommendations for “how do we talk to strangers about Smalltalk” with so many people for so many years, it’s obvious that “preaching to the choir” is easier for many people. Cincom will take the challenge to continue to share the wonderful world of Smalltalk with strangers and those who are Smalltalk-curious and continue growing our community and our success with Cincom Smalltalk.

The attendees at the Seattle event were very open and honest with us about all they liked and disliked about Cincom Smalltalk.  We loved having the opportunity to have honest dialog and candid engagement about how we can reach people who are brand new to Smalltalk. The specific examples from this group who love nothing more than “continuously learning better ways of producing software, sharing with and learning from each other and setting the standard for ethics, quality and mutual respect for all” was more than we could have asked for and set the standard for every meetup moving forward.

These sessions, meetups and events are very important for us to attract strangers to Smalltalk and grow the Smalltalk community.  As Suzanne has said many times, we cannot grow if we keep talking to the same people. These events are very hard to do, and Carl did a great job.  They are hard because both Carl and Suzanne have been involved with Smalltalk for over 25 years, like most in the community.  We have almost forgotten how to talk to new and interested users, and that even shows in how we promote our products.

It’s not easy to get non-Smalltalk user groups and conferences to let us in on their agendas. We’ve been fortunate to secure three recently. Here are the first two:

  • CharmCityJS Meetup – This meetup brings the Javascript community of Baltimore together once a month for talks, hacking and networking, regardless of experience levels. At the CharmCityJS Meetup, Vlad Degen, a Cincom Smalltalk Engineer, and Arden Thomas, the Product Manager for Cincom Smalltalk, presented and shared the message of Cincom Smalltalk with these Javascript developers. Vlad was actually the one who brought us this opportunity.
  • Seattle Software Crafters Meetup – This is a diverse community of software professionals who are passionate about making great software together and are committed to continuously learning better ways of producing software, sharing with and learning from each other and setting the standard for ethics, quality and mutual respect for all. This is the meetup that Carl and Suzanne went to in late July that we discussed above.

What New Speaking Engagements Does the Cincom Smalltalk Team Have?

Coming up in a few weeks is the third developer meetup group at which we’ll be speaking. The Orange County Java User Group in Irvine, CA is for anyone who is interested in Java development, presenting opportunities for networking and featuring presentations on topics of interest to Java developers. This event is right around the corner, taking place on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Just like the Seattle event, Suzanne will do her usual, “Thank you” to the group, followed by a Cincom Smalltalk and Cincom intro before she hands it over to Arden, who will be giving a taste of Smalltalk and Cincom Smalltalk to this Java User Group. 

Events like the OCJUG and the Seattle Software Crafters Meetup are not traditional events. At these developer meetups, we have the opportunity to go right into our sweet spot of established groups of programmers, draw attention to our products and messaging and bring people to Cincom and Cincom Smalltalk. As Mr. Nies has always encouraged all Cincomers to do, we’re sharing our stories, and we’re listening, learning and growing from the conversations and feedback we’ve been receiving.

Can you imagine how the Smalltalk community could grow by taking this approach? Imagine if we came together and promoted the beauty, productivity, and value of Smalltalk collectively!

What Other Networking Opportunities Are Coming Up?

Now that you’ve seen why networking is so important for the Smalltalk community, what are some other networking opportunities that are available? Along with the above meetups, there are several upcoming events where you can meet with Smalltalkers and programmers from around the world.  These networking and learning opportunities include:

Are You Ready for an Amazing Opportunity to Grow Your Business?

Ready for an amazing opportunity? We’ve seen a steady increase of both new and frequent users take advantage of this Cincom Smalltalk program that allows them to grow their businesses with Cincom by their side.

Now it’s your turn! 

Maybe you aren’t a Cincom Smalltalk customer but you want to take advantage of the many benefits that come with being a Cincom customer.  What do you do?

Step One: Watch This Video

Listen to Suzanne explain the benefits of the Cincom Smalltalk REV Program:

Since starting this program, we’ve been able to assist many Smalltalk users as they learn:

  1. How to understand their markets
  2. How to reach their audiences
  3. How to present to their prospects
  4. How to sell their application
  5. How to promote their application

… and so much more. 

The REV program is the best opportunity for you to take your hobby to the next level, believe in yourself and your programming skills, and create your own business.  We’ve  created this program for you to easily become a Cincom Smalltalk customer where you will receive these benefits:

  • The full product
  • Full support for the product
  • An opportunity to join the Developer Program to get early beta releases of our product to see where we are taking it and comment to help us build out the future of commercial Smalltalk
  • An opportunity to join the Partner Promotion Program to promote your application, help you develop the right markets or find the right space to promote what you have been working on

Step Two: Go Join

This quick, easy way to partner with us and grow your business only costs $500 and is a great investment that could pay big dividends as you grow your business.

Don’t let another day go by.

Let’s grow your business together and take your passion to the next level. 

Celebrating the Birth of Cincom Smalltalk, Final Installment

Do you remember 1999? Were you still in grade school?  College? As you reflect back to your personal journey in 1999, let us take you on a journey of two products that eventually found their way to the doorstep of Cincom Systems, Inc.

This year, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Cincom Smalltalk here at Cincom. Although our beloved object-oriented programming language has been around since before 1970, it wasn’t until late 1999 that Cincom brought ObjectStudio and VisualWorks together under the umbrella of Cincom Smalltalk. You can read more about the early years of Smalltalk and the dramatic origin of ObjectStudio in previous months’ editions of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest

As a quick reference, here are some links to the previous sections of this story:

“How Can You Help Smalltalk World Dominance?”

As we bring this history story to a conclusion, we wanted to share some of the documents that were published during the acquisitions and show some of the press releases and other public promotion of these momentous occasions.

Check out the press release from Mr. Nies below:

August 1999 – “The combined complementary products and organizations further leverage Cincom’s leadership role in the Smalltalk community,” said Tom Nies, president and CEO of Cincom Systems. “Now, the respective strengths of each product can be better shared, thus benefiting all customers and the Smalltalk community as a whole. We eagerly look forward to serving this new user community which comes to Cincom and to each user to maximize the benefits they will receive from these excellent technologies.”

  • To see the full gallery of these photos, articles and press releases, click here.

The Surprising Secret of Creating a Twitter List

I’ve been on Twitter personally for a long time.  Over the years, I’ve shifted my focus among many different topics as I experimented with what worked for my particular interests.  The only negative with using social media, and in particular, Twitter, is that the more people you follow, the more “stuff” starts cluttering your timeline.  After a while, your timeline is so full with random posts, it’s hard to sort through and find what you really want.  I think this is the very reason that a lot of people get turned off to a valuable tool like Twitter.

So, how did I learn how to get through the clutter, you ask?  It’s easy … and it’s my secret that I’m sharing with you: LISTS!

But why should you do this?  How will this help you with your job? How will this help your company? More specifically to Smalltalk users, how will this help grow the Smalltalk Community? Why would community members want to use this?

Those are all very good questions, and you may have even thought of others.  Setting up Lists in Twitter can help you in a number of ways, and I’ll use my team as an example.  Let’s take Suzanne Fortman (Twitter: @SuzCST) and her multiple roles at Cincom.  She’s the Program Director for Cincom Smalltalk and also the Engineering Manager.  Suzanne oversees the majority of the daily processes within our product team, so it’s important for her to be resourceful and take advantage of every tool at her disposal in order to be the best manager and director she can be.  Suzanne is also our Product Evangelist and spends time outside of Cincom, going to events, conferences and meetups; sharing the Cincom Smalltalk message; meeting with customers and partners and encouraging new users to try out our products.  That’s a lot of time investment for one person to handle, even if it’s Super Suz.

Maybe you are in Suzanne’s boat and have multiple shoes to wear in your company. Maybe you are the Product Manager, like Arden Thomas (Twitter: @ArdenTCST) or are in another management role in your company. Or, maybe you are the only person in your company and have to handle all of these tasks by yourself.  Twitter Lists gives you (as well as me, Suzanne and Arden) an opportunity to organize your thoughts. You can put people you meet at events into Lists for follow-up or for engagement at a later time.  You can organize important topics that are relevant to your company interests. You can follow thought leaders in your industry or those with your same title to learn valuable insight that can help you improve your career, products and company. All of this allows you to be more efficient with your time because you have a quick reference to all of that organized information when you need it. 

But what about a more broad application?  What about the Smalltalk Community?  How can Twitter Lists help grow the community? Imagine if individual Smalltalkers, Smalltalk User Groups and other Smalltalk teams were united on Twitter. Imagine if everyone followed each other, pooled resources, engaged with and evangelized non-Smalltalkers instead of trying to compete or tear others in the Community down.  Imagine what a unified front amongst all of the Smalltalk dialects would mean to those who have not used Smalltalk or think it’s not a relevant programming language. 

We are only a few years removed from the Stack Overflow Survey that listed Smalltalk as the #2 most loved language. Everyone coming together and following each other would open the door for so many non-Smalltalkers to see relevant topics, amazing examples and unified language evangelization. This would help non-believers and newbies to Smalltalk understand why it is such a loved language. If everyone would create a “Smalltalk” or “Smalltalkers” Twitter List and start to positively engage with each other more, we might really see a whole new wave of interest in Smalltalk take place across the world.

Twitter is a massive source of information that anyone can use to collect and share. It’s also a wonderful place to interact and develop relationships with others in your field. But, the best way to get the maximum benefit of this is by being organized with it.

As Twitter continues to grow in popularity and usage, information will get even more random, and information you want to find will become more difficult to filter. Having well-kept lists will give you a permanent filter for every topic and relationship you want to keep.

I hope my little secret is beneficial to you. I know it’s been something I’ve utilized heavily in the past, and I’m looking forward to building out my new Twitter Lists on my new account, @smalltalkmktg. 

  • To read the post in its entirety, learn more benefits of Twitter Lists and see a step-by-step guide on how to create your first list, click here.

Helpful Customer Links and Information

Attention customers and partners, have you seen the Customer Portal? It has links to all the important information our partners and customers need.  Here’s a quick guide:

Popular Product Resources

Maybe you are new to Cincom Smalltalk or just need help finding something specific on our website. Here’s a quick guide to the popular resources we have available on our website: