Posted by: David Vasta
AS/400, COMMON - A users group, David on System i
I am traveling today, it’s a Sunday and the airport is pretty busy. People coming home from visits, from going to new places, and of course business travelers. While I could preach about the old argument that I think, and this is tongue and cheek stuff, but there should be an airline for “Professional Flyer’s” and one for amateurs, but I think I will save that one for another time.
Today while in the Charlotte Airport, where I will be spending a good amount of my time from now on, I needed to grab a bit to eat. I had not had anything all morning and didn’t want fast food so I decided to eat at the sit down Chili’s. Chili’s is not my favorite place to eat but it was good today.
Before we dive into the meat of the conversation let me preface it a bit . . .
We all have one thing in common, we are all people and even if you have not noticed we are very odd creatures. I love to watch people in public situations. I like to see how they interact and move around each other, communicate with each other, and review one another. I think we grow stranger and stranger each day. We as people communicate and create communications. Right now as you read this I am communicating with you, while not direct, it is a form of communication. Last night my wife and I had the opportunity to have a really nice dinner and conversation with one of our new neighbors. That is a form of direct communication and community building. From that dinner I now know more about my neighbors, their lives, likes, dislikes and how they view the world. I truly do enjoy that form of communication.
Blogging is a very indirect form of communication and over time you can learn a bit about me but it’s not really building community, other then you get a small bit of insight into my views of System i based enterprise IT.
So in the Chili’s, and at this point you were wondering what Chili’s had to do with it, I was seated at a small table not 2 feet from another table with a man at it about my age (35) in the garb of a Catholic Priest reading a book about Jesus written by the new Pope. The fact that he is a priest is somewhat important to this post but could be left out as well.
When I sat down I noticed he gave me the “shifty eyes” as he looked up form his reading. I am a creature of habit and after attending an “All Boys Catholic Military School” as a young man and being taught by catholic priest every day for four years I said “Hello Father”, to which he said nothing. Maybe the book was really good or at one of those riveting points where you dare not stop reading but a little head nod would have been enough to stop my mind from wondering and thinking about community and people.
It also got me wanting to put my keyboard to work blogging about my thoughts.
I didn’t think the priest was being rude but in the back of my mind I can recall more often than not people in airports, hotels, busses, and such that are just not open to other peoples communications or that they are even there in some cases. It seems to be a growing problem. Jim Grisanzio noted some odd behavior in Japan on the trains.
Then you have this, blogging, if I can’t communicate with you in person I think the blog is a very backwards way to get to know someone. While I am able to get my thoughts out in the open it’s not very personal. You might never know I am a complete goof ball and love to make people laugh. I am a slave to other people laughter and will stop at nothing to make you the listener have a good time. You might never know that reading this blog but it’s true.
The System i Community at times struggles to be a community. Just ask Trevor Perry. While Trevor is able to communicate his thoughts and ideas with the zeal of a Circus Barker, his message is sometime lost. Trevor is a master communicator, and could make you excited about getting a vasectomy, but sometimes I feel that no one wants to hear what he has to say. I know I do.
At the end of the day deep down inside I am still a geek who at times would rather hide in a dark office, than talk to anyone. The community needs us and yet we fight that with a natural instinct to not communicate. I see this every year at COMMON and have done it myself.
In the past given the options to hang out in a large ball room having drinks or sitting in my room with my laptop or TV, there were times when I would have chosen hotel room. I know to some people it sounds odd, but I am sure some of you are reading this saying “that’s me”.
There are a few questions on my mind and the one big one is how do we form a stronger community with people who at times would rather the community just be there without them? How do we make the System i community better when we only meet once a year?
We have some tools at our disposal online. We all can head over to iSociety.com and share what we know, meet other people and do a little online, but I will take it up at COMMON, I think the site is very limiting in that it’s a nice place but I don’t think it focuses on community or society building. I do like love the fireside chats. We could also head over to LinkedIn.com and join up with each other and that might help, or COMMON could put some type of Linkedin type thing in iSociety? I think that letting LinkedIn do what it does is the best way and keep them separate is the nest move.
The System i Community is very large and is very vast, IBM has not done much via it’s web site or it’s company to foster the community, and maybe they have left that to COMMON, since that is what they do best. Hats off to COMMON for being a great place to build community.
Our next big chance to all meet in person is at COMMON in Nashville this spring. I am truly all worked up about it. I get to see my friends and I get to meet new ones. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up thinking about all the community I will be building this year. I want everyone to keep reading this blog, I want you to really think and post your thoughts. I think we need to all meet at COMMON this year. I want to meet everyone who has read anything I have written, even if you hated it I want to know you read it and I want you to say “I hated it”, and then tell me why. I assure you I am not going to get upset and in the end you will know me and I will know you. We just built a little bit of community all be it in anger.
So as we get closer to COMMON I want you to really want to attend the parties and community building that goes on after hours. I want you to come to the Bloggers session and talk to us. I want you to think about building your community and in the end would be building our community.
The System i has been out for over 20 years and we still struggle with our community. IBM struggles to get companies to see the value of the System i and in the companies still think the System i is over prices compare to Intel boxes that cost less and perform less. It’s a hard row we have to hoe but we have to do it. We have to build and in the end you will gain a few friends, share some stories about CD trays being cup holders and how the old systems were big and tan and go home with a few more people in your contacts you can email and look forward to seeing next year.
You can also hang out more at ITKE and make it a point to help answer a few questions. Post some thoguhts on a blog or two just to let the blogger know you are reading it In order for this site to grow they need you, the community to show up and participate.
Make it a point to talk to everyone you can at COMMON.
Make it a point to communicate.