Re: Why is marketing the enemy to a programmer?

Subject: Re: Why is marketing the enemy to a programmer?
From: John Ahlstrom <jahlstro -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 17:15:08 -0800

10. Everything is the enemy to a programmer
9. Marketing expects programmers to do useful things
8. Marketing expects programmers to know when the
useful things they are supposed to be doing will
be done
7. Marketing thinks that it is possible to do N+1
things in the same time as it as N things
6. Marketing thinks that things have to be sold before
they will be bought
5. Marketing thinks that they know what needs to be
4. Marketing thinks they should be able to get support
from programmers
3. Marketing thinks that it (marketing) should be the
major interface to the customers/users
2. Marketing thinks that programmers should shut up and
do as they are told
1. Marketing has never tried to sell the value of
their functions to programmers 'cause the programmers
couldn't understand it anyway. And have barely
ever tried to explain it to programmers.

(I have been proud to be a programmer for more than
30 years.)

Every once and a while we stumble over a nature vs
nurture contraversy -- which is more important in
<mumble>. I have finally settled on an understanding
of many nature v nurture questions that I think can
be expanded to the relationship between marketing and
engineering and maybe even to the relationship between
marketeers and engineers.

In the nature v nurture issues there seems to be both
a nature and a nurture component (or there would not
be a contraversy about the importance of each element).
In many cases, it seems to me, nature defines the
range of possibilities and nurture defines the place
within those possibilities. For example, 1st generation
Americans of Japanese ancestry are supposed to average
several inches taller than their parents. Clearly their
nature -- genes -- had to allow that growth, while their
diet, ... -- nurture -- determined how high within
the range of naturally allowed heights they grew.

Similarly, I find it useful to characterize the
relationship between engineering and (here I
have to group them) [marketing and sales]
as analogous to nature v nurture.
Engineering builds something that has a range of
possible success. [Marketing and sales] (and I don't
want to get into the relationship of mktg to sales)
determine where in that range of success the product
really reaches.

I see marketing as having two major roles (please
forgive me if I am either parroting or contradicting
Mktg 101):
Supporting Sales -- in a variety of ways
Helping determine what should be built.

If Mktg does not communicate this second role to
engineering, it will be perceived as the enemy of
programmers. If it fails to do a good job, it
will be the enemy of the whole company.

My 2cents worth.

John Ahlstrom jahlstrom -at- cisco -dot- com
408-526-6025 Using Java to Decrease Entropy
I can neither confirm nor deny that these opinions are
or are not held by anyone else.

Any neural system sufficiently complex to generate the axioms of
arithmetic is too complex to be understood by itself.
Kaekel's Conjecture
Customers sometimes won't wait for or pay for the activities
that would significantly improve product quality. If they
buy someone else's product while you are improving the
quality of yours, that has a real impact on both companies
Mark S. Wiley

More formally:
There is some level of quality that customers require: Qr.
There are some levels of quality that customers desire: Qd.
There are some levels of quality that customers will not wait for
or pay for: Qn
If you and a competitor are at an early level, and if they ship
and you try to reach a higher level, customers will buy
your competitor's product and you are screwed.

it will be p

of each.


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