Without leadership who do we look to for inspiration

As I lie awake in bed I could only reflect on how much our community has change over the last few years. I assume its due to the reaction of our new reality and the economy in general. SalesLogix superheros are falling away. Not so much as leaving the product or community, just becoming invisible and insular. The fact is, to be a ‘hero’ or evangelist in any community takes a great commitment and in real terms dollars, that few are happy to part with.   For the longest time I had looked towards Ryan Farley, Mike Spragg, and Stephen Redmond for inspiration each supporting the community in providing a developer hub, writing the go-to book or the contributions to the forum, that greatly enhanced the skills of those who were seasoned as well as those coming into SalesLogix for the first time. We all came up through the product at the same time and my contribution at the time was the Legacy mobile platform. It was easier when I was promoting a product that I had a relationship with, and the capacity to announce/discuss whatever was happening in the development pipeline as soon as it was though up. The joys of a small company start-up was there was little communication filters so I was quite liberal on the conversation between myself, and the community as a whole.

Business partners I also observe like to keep their staff close to their vest, in as much as any work is done by the company and not individuals. For the most part there is no external promotion of the incredible skill and talent that does exist in our community nor is there any cross pollination.

I am lucky to say I also know some great people inside of Sage that I get to talk to regularly as I work on product for the team and there are several rock stars that I am happy to call friends, but what our community needs to true leadership outside of Sage to provide life and energy and excitement to all the incredible possibilities that the platform brings.

What do you think, is the SalesLogix superhero gone for good. Who do you derive inspiration from?

3 Comments

  1. For the most, superheroes are the oldies.
    Those who dealt with Intrabase, legacy, “Support” as a separate client etc.
    They grew with the product and the product grew because of them.
    They were at the door, greeting with welcoming arms, the arrival of VB Script and the deprecation of Cypress Enable. They were first in the queue at the v7.5 web architecture party (most UK BPs were looking over the fence, with folded arms “tutting” at the noise).
    We have been this game long enough to know that familiar faces still remain familiar, but I agree, new faces are conspicuous by their absence.
    In the US you had (and still have) CustomerFX, Customer Systems Inc. and a handful of others, there from the get-go.
    Partners who invested in people as well as the product. The investment in people being the prime factor – companies who allowed their developers with passion to fly (remember of course that some of these guys were also there with the “SalesLogix Corporation” in the 90’s).
    You also have those companies who pay their guys to “do the job”, in other words, unless they are producing billable hours for live deployments they are not being “productive”, and these companies don’t produce the same calibre of person.

    The UK has, for the most, followed the latter. Having worked for a number of BPs and, without exception, every time I needed to research something, such as “what happens when I change this”, “how do I add a new control the toolbox and use it”, “will this project fall over when it is service packed” and similar – things that we all have to do at one time or another, have had to be done in my own time and not the BPs. Strict timecards for developers are a nonsense and a sure-fire way to stifle creativity. Yes, they (the BP) had to make money and bill time, however, if a developer gets 8 hours for a task that they know inside-out then great, but if they get 8 hours for a task where the concept behind includes any self-improvement, research, testing “what-if” scenarios etc. then the 4 hours is takes to get the research results has eaten into their allowable time and the job goes “over budget”.

    This falls into line of the “takes a great commitment and in real terms dollars, that few are happy to part with” that you mention. Whole heartedly agree.

    Once, a long while back, and during a night flowing with Jim Beam “Black” (so there were no guards up) , I had a conversation with a superhero about code sharing, peer-level reviews and, basically the same sort of topic you discuss. The upshot of this evening was that why would anyone want to share their billable knowledge with relative strangers in order for them to increase billable hours. Would a plasterer be happy to teach his customer how to be as good as he was so that he wouldn’t have to pay for his services again? – wide analogy I know, but this was one of the points I disagreed with.

    I do sometimes wonder how anyone has the time to create as many forum entries and replies as some of the major contributors do. I take my cap off to them.

    I get plenty of direct questions daily requesting help with SalesLogix development and, if I can, answer all of these as soon as they arrive in my inbox. This could be one reason why I spend so long each week working – I am distracted by them, happily distracted, but distracted nonetheless.

    For new kids on the block, reading the content of contributors such and Mike , Ryan et al, make the transition into this field far less daunting than it would otherwise be and we should all be eternally grateful that others actually take the time out of their schedules to make a difference to others, after all, all of these regular contributors also need to make a living and there are only so many hours in the day that anyone can spend helping others – I agree, they do a fantastic job.

    Maybe the SalesLogix Evangelists out there, should start afresh and regroup. I have, in vain, tried to convince BPs that investing in the personal development of SalesLogix developers and consultants does not mean spending $2000 on a training course and all problems are fixed. You would be amazed how common this is. Skills & Experience should be as dynamic as the CRM implementation concept. Learn something new every day and pass it on.

    Great post, thought provoking

  2. Not dead, still very much alive and active. For the most part, do you know what – it was the technology used to communicate that community spirit that died, not the people. Like most people (around 5 years ago!) I was fairly used to opening my Outlook in the morning and OE to open the newsreader. You could spot Newsgroup posts appear with no effort – they’d just appear. You could then respond very quickly in a threaded post. It was also searchable and became a very valuable store of info.

    Once they moved to the “new community” my life balance changed. No longer was I tied to that process of my morning (and daily) ritual. I had to subscribe to boards, I had to wait for an email to arrive. I had to login to post a reply. I had to do this, I had to do that. It became a drain & pain on resources. Not because I couldn’t be bothered – but becuase I couldn’t be bothered to go through the additional steps required that *prevented* me from helping others. So, rather than create a community it actually helped destroy a very active one. So much for progress eh! Sometimes, change is not for the better – it’s for the worse. Just take a look at the replacement to partners.saleslogix.com and support.saleslogix.com – can ANYONE agree this is for the better ???

    1. I guess in the end to be the new Superhero would to overcome all the roadblocks that have been put in the way and still contribute in a meaningful way. I sometimes wonder if a new grassroots movement needs to start to make it easier for sharing and caring for this community.

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