Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Warning: Rant Follows (anti-Marketing)

Adult Language may ensue, be warned.

I don't get it. What the F**K is with those stupid-as-hell IBM ads in all the magazines? Does ANYONE actually read those stupid f-ing things? They look like a tampon commercial done with geek dress code. Just dumb. Says nothing. Means nothing. Wastes paper. Puts cash in the pockets of the publishers to say and do nothing at all. Geez. More than half the ads in eWeek are IBM now. Why not just rename it to ibmWeek and get it over with?

Not to single out IBM (even though they deserve it), there are obviously others who excel at the art of stupid-ass marketing. NetApp, McAfee, Symantec, SAS, Sun, Oracle, and yes, Microsoft. For all the oafishness they excude, it seems they forgot who reads those idiot mags: techies. MBA's don't read that crap. Sure, they carry it around, but only for two reasons: To fool others into thinking they have a clue about IT matters, and to attempt putting fear into their own IT staff. You know: "Uh oh! The CxO is reading about virtualization! We better get it deployed fast!" In reality, they get to their office and toss it aside to pick up magazines that matter to them most: Golf Digest, Boats and Yachts and Conde Nast Guide. The rest is meaningless time spent between meetings and phone calls.

The problem is that in general, software has lost its soul. If it ever had one, it was back in the 90's when the PC software boom was in full swing. If you happen to be someone that has dealt with "computers" since the early-mid 1990's (or earlier) you should nod in agreement when I say that there was a time when we were eager to try out new software. Utilities, games, even operating systems. There was a lot going on and a lot of new cool stuff to play with. Licensing hadn't evolved to the gestapo-ish level it is now, laying open the doors of exploration and discovery. It was really exciting and software seemed to relay some semblance of the people behind it who made it happen.

Today's software products look like today's cars compared to 1950's hot rods. Sleek, glossy, technically savvy, boring as hell. Curves are gone. Colors are muted. Styles are copied between competitors to the point where you can't name any of them driving past you in traffic. There are many reasons this has become commonplace; some good; some bad. It parallels the impression kids have when watching huge blow-up scenes in today's movies. They don't flinch one bit. They usually say (in a sleepy monotone): "it's just computer animation". That's how software has become to most geeks today. Installing, licensing, patching, configuring, patching and more patching, and then the painful upgrading. Flip it over and serve it up on a plate for order number 27. "next!"
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