To all the DDE on Mac supporters, a few thoughts

February 15 2011

So there seems to be a meme today for the Lotus bubble to ask IBM to make Domino Designer on Eclipse (DDE) work on the Apple Mac OS. I have no horse in this fight, but a few thoughts.

1. Be exact in what you are asking for

Are you really asking for DDE to come to the Mac OS? The entire thing? Or are you OK with an XPages only IDE for the Mac? Think long and hard about what your asking for and be very specific. Being too generic and broad in the request will likely prevent this from happening. Why? Because DDE or Designer didn't come to any platform in a single release given all the current features. Create a DDE on Mac 1.0 feature and requirement list. Can you live with English only on an English only Mac OS release? Only the latest 10.X instead of support for all current supported Mac OS versions? Be surgical in what your willing to have come in a later version.

2. Do you really know what it takes for DDE to come to the Mac?

Has anyone done the work to figure out what the effort entails? I am sure people at IBM have - but why has the community not? I am sure there are people who work at IBM would help behind the doors to come up with some estimates. And don't forget Q&A and internationalization - all of those things that supported software from IBM software.

3. Get some real data to fight the 'show me the money' responses.

In my first year doing sales full time, I learned a very important lesson in 2010: You have to fit your sales path into the customer's process, not have the customer fit into your sales process. DDE on Mac supporters should do the same here. IBM has financial requirements to make this level of commitment. "How many new customers will this generate?" is the question we keep hearing. OK, go find out. Take out all of the existing customers and developers and do some research. Why not ask GBS to do a survey of all those 500 students to see how many would want to work with Domino application development if there was a DDE on the Mac. Do a survey at user groups or on-line. Get some real numbers of people who are not current customers or developers who would become with this change. You can probably do this with little cost and a lot of time and effort. In the end, it would give some real backbone to the argument.

4. Get large customer support behind this

So there has been some leering and sneering at the 'LOLA' crowd for how much influence they have. Well, duh! It is the largest customers and partners in a room and IBM is asking for guidance on the path going forward. Of course they have a huge amount of influence. Why not reach out to these customers (I would ignore the partners) and get them on board to champion this.

4. And doing 1, 2 , 3 & 4 is no guarantee anything happens.

I think that even if all of the above suggestions were done, IBM might stay say no. I can think of scenarios where I would voice my opinion that other things were more important. For instance, if it was DDE on Mac or XPages w/ alternative data sources in Next, I would vote for the alternative data sources in a heart beat. It's not a Phil vs Maureen resource discussion, its a testing, documentation, and internationalization effort. There is only so much testing that can be done in a release. Everything subtracts from the same pie.

I think it is great to see the community being so passionate about this discussion. There are very much two sides to this effort. Just one thought to remember: it doesn't matter how many voices of the folks at Lotusphere 2011 with Macs ask for this, its the voices of the folks who would come to Lotusphere 2012 because of DDE on a Mac that matter.