• Subject: Re: The Greying of COMMON
  • From: Pete Massiello <PMassiello@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 02 Oct 1997 08:58:28 -0700
  • Organization: OS Solutions

John Carr wrote:

   <<SNip Snip Snip>> 

  First off, I think John's letter really hit a cord, and that it should
be read by many people in IBM as well as COMMON. Perhaps Wayne Madden
was right when he said "Its the Marketing, IBM".  Maybe the samething
applies to User Groups?  Afterall, what is COMMON anyway?  Is it a twice
a year conference or an organization?

  I think its not a greying of COMMON, but perhaps the current board and
infrastructure has become too stale. Number one COMMON is not attracting
new blood, and number 2 only the real COMMON diehards are still
attending COMMON, so it seems that the population is greying. Before
anyone sees this as a flame (which it is not intended to be), I have a
lot of respect for the people who volunteer their time and effort to
make an organization like COMMON run as smooth as it does. Either the
COMMON board does not understands whats its membership wants, needs, or
desires, or there are so many layers of management that nothing seems to
change or get done.  

   I have heard this from meeting with people at the past few COMMONs,
as well as discussing this with numerious vendors at the exhibition.
Speaking of vendors:

   The vendors are treated like Sh*t from the COMMON board, which is
interesting in that we heavily subsidize the conference(I estimate just
booth space rental is over $800,000 per conference, not counting all the
advertising) and add a great deal of value to the conference by
providing solutions that are lacking on the AS/400, contributing a
contrasting (or complimentary) perspective on AS/400
issues/problems/solutions, and providing technical expertise at many
sessions as speakers.  So why is it that the vendors are never listened
to by the board?  

   New blood is needed to rejuvinate the COMMON board, to increase their
awareness of the community that they were elected to represent, not to
repress new ideas.  As members of the IT community, one of our major
challenges in our organizations is to embrace change, and allow change
to permeate our environment without major disruption, but molding that
"change" to improve our organization.  An organization that stays static
and resists change will be an organization that starts to shrival up and

   Is this what is happening to COMMON?  Can they accept change?  Why is
the organization so secretive about why the new President (or CEO which
ever the title) left so secretively and abrubtly?  Why were there only
3300 members attending COMMON in San Antonio?  

    I am not saying that the current board is inept, what I am saying is
that better communication with the members, vendors, and press is the
first step in letting us know what is happening inside the organization.
But they must remember, that communication is a two way street, and they
must listen and react to what the people want.  


Pete Massiello
OS Solutions International 
Phone: (203)-744-7854  Ext 11.
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