[erlang-questions] Ways to get started

Joe Armstrong erlang@REDACTED
Tue Jul 12 16:50:17 CEST 2011

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 3:05 PM, Avinash Dhumane <avinash@REDACTED>wrote:

> How would a Sales person get himself started? No, I am not a programmer.
> But, I am tasked to sell an abstract form that embodies Erlang/OTP as its
> DNA. And, my prospects are the CXOs in the enterprise application software
> space. Please bear with me a little bit so that I can articulate my
> difficulties.

Tricky - when I had company we always sent two people to a sales meeting.

The sales guy + a programmer.

The sales guy does the "pitch" and the programmer answers the technical

It's not good to send a sales guy into a group of programmers - they get
found-out after a few minutes.

It's not good to send a programmer to a meeting. programmers don't bother
with follow-up calls
and "what do we do next" type stuff - on a good day they will try to solve
all the customers problems
in the sales meeting and be done with it.

One of the great success factors of Cisco was they always sent engineers to
sales meetings.

> ** **
> I left IONA Technologies in 2002 (I was a programmer at IONA, and worked on
> point/patch releases of Orbix). It seems CXOs at IONA did not "listen" to
> Steve's appeal "to use Erlang". So, I take a hint from him that CXOs do not
> like a proposal or invitation "to use" yet another “name” of technology even
> though it can provide them better trade-offs than what they have chosen for
> now and which are burning their pockets badly. And, I have testified this at
> sufficient number of places in the field. So, I am starting with this
> one-liner pitch sans the word “Erlang” to draw the attention of prospects:
> "Fulfil SLAs economically in the presence of faults and extreme load." (Yes,
> I picked up this from Joe’s thesis, and twisted it for my sales purpose)
> ** **
> Obviously, I need to refine this one-liner further as I go down the
> hierarchy of “Buy” decision makers in my sales drill at the prospect's shop.
> I need to show them how their (business) application architectures have
> developed the *resistance* property that simply resists reliability,
> scalability and extensibility, which in turn costs them money. And, by
> architecture, I mean the things mentioned here:
> http://www.ics.uci.edu/~fielding/pubs/dissertation/top.htm.  The abstract
> form that I propose to sell, then, begins to take concrete form in the
> context of the (business) function – form follows function – which the
> prospect sees as bottleneck or money-leaking hole. I seize it as an
> opportunity to insert my form (made of Erlang as one of the central
> architectural elements) as a gold-link in the midst of several weak-links
> that the prospect has. The goal really is to achieve 20::80
> (effort::mileage) ratio for the prospect and a “beach head” for me (for
> subsequent invasion in the customer shop).

> ** **
> I end up presenting my abstract form sometimes as an application container,
> sometimes as ESB, sometimes as DBMS, sometimes as TPM (the programmers in my
> lab implement Paxos protocols), sometimes as XTP; I basically measure the
> water-depth of the prospect and his drifts and the technology buzzwords he
> subscribes to and try to take an “interesting” standpoint for him so that I
> can resonate with him and get him to speak about his pain points! I have
> deliberately kept my form as abstract as possible, because Erlang lets me
> concretize it rapidly with its economy of expression for a specific need of
> the prospect to overcome the resistance he faces in the application
> architectures he has put together, often, forcibly!

If I were in the room when you did this I would ask what all the
abbreviations stood for and ask
how Paxos worked. I have a vague idea how paxos works and would be keen to
learn more.

This is why you need your technical guy in the sales group.

> ** **
> Well, my difficulty is that I was an average programmer in imperative
> programming language a decade ago and since then had not been up to speed
> with the “thoughts” (as oppose to “details”) behind mainstream technologies
> out there in the field bleeding the enterprises. This might be a blessing in
> disguise since I do not have to unlearn too many things for I haven’t gone
> down the many roads that lead to failures, but I still need to be equipped
> with the architectural elements that build the rustiness (resistance) in the
> systems and be able to convey those to the potential buyers to help them
> understand why they are bleeding and what I have got to offer them. However,
> I am not able to pick up the branches of evolution of the technologies,
> along with their characteristics, that have made it to the field and
> unfortunately commanding the sizeable market share. The data that I have to
> scan is way too voluminous, and I don’t know where to get started and
> proceed thereafter.
> ** **
> Any insights or directions?

No - it's difficult - if sales were easy and you could just follow some
magic formula
then I guess all salesmen would be stinking rich - since they aren't then it
must be tricky.

Jane Walerud a blutail co-founder said that "it was all about the
relationship" - feelings
warm fuzzy stuff that programmers don't understand - she was probably right.

Most of the programmers I know are the worse salesmen on the planet - they
don't want to buy software
because they'd rather write it themselves and mostly they want to give away
what they have done
not sell it.

Cheers - and sorry I can't help more


** **
> Many thanks!
> ** **
> --- On *Tue, 12/7/11, Joe Armstrong <erlang@REDACTED>* wrote:
> From: Joe Armstrong <erlang@REDACTED>
> Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Ways to get started
> To: "Mihai Balea" <mihai@REDACTED>
> Cc: erlang-questions@REDACTED
> Date: Tuesday, 12 July, 2011, 2:19 AM
> After 30 years you will get the hang of this and be a good programmer.
> Tools are no substitute for typing in small programs and
> understanding exactly how they work. This is true for all programming
> language. Programming is an art form, there is no easy way.
> Like playing the violin - is there an easy way of playing the violin other
> than by practising for thousands of hours? I think not.
> /Joe
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://erlang.org/pipermail/erlang-questions/attachments/20110712/ac226cb3/attachment.htm>

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list