[pdx.st] Smalltalk foundation meeting

Andres Valloud avalloud at smalltalk.comcastbiz.net
Fri Nov 28 16:33:47 PST 2014

I can't help asking "who is our audience", "what is our message", and 
"which future do we want".

Sometimes I feel what's missing is that old magic, roughly described as 
having a tremendous enabling impact.  Put differently, although we are 
inventing a future, the vision of that future is not necessarily ours. 
We are so caught up maintaining our past that we do not push forward as 
hard as we could, while somebody else's future happens to us.

A way out of this state is to invent a future we would like.  What is 
our future, exactly?  How do we describe the people that will share in 
this future?  What is our message?  Who is our audience?

These are serious questions, not meant to be asked rhetorically.  If you 
feel you have to answer, remember speed is not of the essence.  Perhaps 
you can think of other serious questions?

On 11/11/14 8:59 , Paul DeBruicker wrote:
> Hi -
> I got home and saw that earlier in the day there was a discussion
> about the C2 wiki article "If Smaltalk Is So Good Why Does Nobody Use
> It"  (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?IfSmalltalkIsSoGoodWhyDoesNobodyUseIt
> (aside: I wish the C2 wiki had timestamps on comments)) on Hacker
> News (discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8584189).
> The discussion demonstrates that in the Hacker News community there
> is a curiosity but also a lack of knowledge about Smalltalk.  None of
> the 50+ comments are from a person working in Smalltalk today.
> So I think the marketing efforts the Smalltalk Foundation are going
> to implement are timely.
> I was thinking about some things the foundation could do that would
> not take any cash (but would take some time) to help people deciding
> whether to learn/adopt Smalltalk or not.  You've probably thought of
> them already but here goes:
> 1. Compile industry wide stats on # of developers using smalltalk and
> their average salary bucketed by years of experience & update those
> stats bi-annually.  Include all the developers you can find.  A
> person evaluating which language to learn/adopt can today go on
> monster.com (or whatever job board) and compile that data in a few
> hours for their languages of interest but could not do the same for
> Smalltalk. They could at least get an idea of the dollar cost/benefit
> of adopting the technology. I get that there are companies involved
> that do not, yet, want to share that info publicly.  But without
> having the information available the people deciding what language to
> use may decide that there is either nothing there (no users) or the
> stats are so embarrassing that they should not be shared.
> 2.  On the website compile a list of all of the whiz-bang benefits a
> developer or business gets by using Smalltalk and juxtapose them
> against other modern language ecosystems.  Make it plain as day what
> the feature is, why it is important from a business enterprise value
> creation perspective, and why Smalltalk is better at it than language
> X.  As the platform vendors get objections in their efforts to sell
> into new customers they can both point to the list and update it with
> new objections/responses.  I also think you need to demonstrate
> plainly how Smalltalk is a good citizen in a multi-language
> environment and that it interacts well with the other language
> ecosystems.   I think people don't adopt Smalltalk because they are
> uncertain about its cash cost, ecosystem, and future. Not because the
> Smalltalk langauge can't do X or Y.  (isn't there a saying "Nobody
> ever got fired for buying IBM" ?).    I think you need to make the
> case to neophytes that they will be happy they took the risk.
> 3.  Define & develop a series of certifications a person could earn
> to show to employers that they have a level of competency in
> Smalltalk.  Chuck relayed his clients lament about the lack of a US
> university course.  I think you should stop waiting on others to
> teach 30 college aged kids per year to learn Smalltalk.  Build a
> certification program that can be self study or used in a company
> setting while on-boarding new developer hires that gets a person
> productively using Smalltalk.  Make the certification free & platform
> agnostic.  Add optional platform specific modules (E.g. Advanced
> GemStone ) if it helps you raise $$ from Smalltalk companies to
> support the foundations efforts.  Google offers free certifications
> in AdWords
> (https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3154326?hl=en&ref_topic=3203989),
> AdSense and their Analytics platforms that companies hiring
> consultants can use to ensure they get someone at least somewhat
> competent in the service rather than charlatans.
> Ok so there are three big things for an Industry Foundation to lead.
> Good luck
> Paul _______________________________________________ General mailing
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