Sunday, February 28, 2010

Warm Sunday Afternoons


Imagine for a moment that it's a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon in a city other than home. Your're sitting here in a strange hotel room trying to think of what you should have ready for tomorrow and for the all-day meetings all of next week on various topics, sub-topics and sub-sub-topics that will, eventually, decide what your product and your fate will become for the next few years. On the one hand, it's exciting, exhilarating and makes you feel more alive than anything else. On the other, there's the fear and dread of failure to live up to what you think you can do, what others think you can do to keep your established place in the market place and, if possible, to improve it; whether by leaps and bounds or even just bit by bit.

So, try as you might, you seek to think creatively without being obviously silly and, as my musician son would put it, without being "cheesy"; without so obviously trying to grab the attention of the market place with cheap tricks and shallow reasoning. Whatever you do it simply has to be solid and something that the market place needs and can't do without. It has to be something that is substantial and which, at the same time, won't create too radical a change in the way things are being done presently otherwise you will have a completely new product.

So, here we go - I'm asking for your help: What do you think that the "market place" of rulebased systems needs most? What is it that we can do for a product that it needs to be an even better product than it is today? Let's assume that you already have the finest Product Managers in the business, some of the most talented developers (engineers) that any company could want, and the God Father of Rulebased Systems himself as the chief scientists working on the problems and design analysis. With all of that, why would you have to ask for more help? Because it is the technical public, the business analysts, the USERS of the systems who can help a company define what a rulebased system should be and what it should and should not do.

[Back to first person] From our Ivory Towers, we can not predict what will be a "hit" and what will be a "miss" in this business. We have to get down in the trenches where those who work with our product or any other product day after day and find out what they want and, even more importantly, why they want it. It isn't enough to have one or more users to say that they want an engine that will solve a particular problem in a certain manner and give the appropriate answers, we have to know WHY that problem should be on the immediate need list and HOW that solution will make business easier for users.

Please feel free to either comment or contact me directly.


1 comment:

woolfel said...

high on most developer's list is integration with servlet and ejb containers. I've worked with several end users of blaze and all of them wanted the ability to simply deploy and debug an application from the development environment. The other big item is dynamic decision tables, such that if a column relates to another table, have it show up when the user moves the mouse over the column header. I've mentioned this to many people for the last 4 years and no one has done it yet. All of the developers and end users I've talked to consider that feature a no brainer.