RE: Please send alcoholic beverages. . . quickly

Subject: RE: Please send alcoholic beverages. . . quickly
From: "Humbird, Len" <len -dot- humbird -at- intel -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 10:49:53 -0700

> From: John Posada [mailto:jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
>
> I did multi-million dollar (50 million - 100 million dollars)
> proposals, which are more responsible for selling than user
> documentation. I usually took my lead from someone else, usually
> marketing.

I believe Boita said this was user manuals being developed. Now unless
someone changed the rules on me while I was cave-dwelling, manuals are
shipped with the product AFTER it has been marketed and sold. It is a rare
occasion where a manual is considered marcom material. That's because
people don't read them unless they have a problem to be solved. Some
software products do get reviewed in software magazines, but even then,
documentation usually only gets a passing mention. But of course, the point
of user documentation to score well on the rag reviews. It's to help the
user solve a problem.

> In fact, I was in sales prior to writing. Wait
> until you work with them before making judgements

John, wait till you've worked in the real trenches - tech support. I've
worked with those underpaid animals who never get any respect. The good
ones (well ok, all of them) don't deserve the calls from irate customers who
couldn't find the answer to their question because of pompous marketing
drivel in the documentation. Or worse, when technical problems that should
have been documented in the release notes had to be buried and perfumed
because "it just wouldn't look good for the company". That's precisely the
purpose and strength of marketing: to making your product look better than
the competition's, regardless of what the truth is.

As for typography, layout, and color scheme, let Marketing have some say.
But if you want to earn your paycheck, then stand up for what you believe is
the right direction for your documentation.

Be the customer's advocate, and you'll have your answer. However, if it's
between that and getting a paycheck, well, your bill collectors and kitchen
cupboards may have another answer for you.

--
Len Humbird, PNG Information Engineering
Intel Corporation <len -dot- humbird -at- intel -dot- com>
All comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my
employer.





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