[futurebasic] [FB] FB^3: View from the pond

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From: RMMerrill@...
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 14:29:59 EST
>From: Chris.Young@...
>Any thoughts of a mention in Macintouch? I notice they usually have
>version upgrades, etc. for RealBasic there...
>Chris Y.

--- snip ----

>From: Chris Stasny <staz@...>
>Ric Ford and I are probably not the closest of friends. I don't 
>think anyone should mention it to him. If you even remind him that 
>we exist, we may end up with a bunch (more) bad press.
>If he wants to, he can hurt us and in the past, he has wanted to.
>-STAZ  ~)~

--- snip ----

>From: Phil Yates <phil.yates@...>
>Sorry, Andy, but you're wrong. I arranged for Staz to send them a copy of
>Redneck, even spoke to the Editor and enthused him. He PROMISED to print a
>Result : Nothing. Nada. Zip. Even after reminders.
>Which helped to confirm my view that Reporters (in general) are lower than
>pond life. (Climbs off hobby horse)

Ken Pond-Scumheiser's tips for a successful PR campaign (gathered 
over 30 years):

1. Always be gracious, even in the face of adversity, indifference or 
2. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
3. The squeaking wheel gets the grease.
4. If you want a big harvest, sow many seeds.
5. Not all of the seeds you sow will grow.
6. Some of your seeds will produce beyond your wildest expectations.
7. To get water, you must prime the pump.
8. Once the pump is primed, water flows bountifully.
9. Praise your competitors and their wonderful products.
10. It matters not so much what they're saying, but that they're 
saying something.
11. Accept criticism as constructive and improve your product.
12. Control yourself first and others will follow.

Example Study: FB^3

Questions for consideration:

1. What does our PR package contain? Do we include a free CD copy of 
our product for the 
editor-writer-reviewer-publisher-reporter-columnist to try and keep? 
Do we include simple working examples ("Hello World" in a window) so 
the editor-writer-reviewer-publisher-reporter-columnist can tell his 
friends, family and coworkers that he is now a "programmer"? (Rule 7)

2. Do we send personalized copies of our PR package (perhaps in FedEx 
or Priority Mail packages) to a single person in an organization? Or 
do we send copies (of course each with a personalized-- perhaps even 
handwritten letter) to each editor, writer, reviewer, publisher, 
reporter, columnist in the organization. (Rules 3, 4, 5 and 6)

3. Do we acknowledge that the market-leading Macintosh BASIC 
language, RealBASIC is a wonderful product used by thousands of 
discriminating programmers, that it is has convenient cross-platform 
and OOP capabilities, and that we know those discriminating 
programmers are now ready to move up to the next level-- to FB^3-- 
with its exponentially greater speed, flexibility, compact code and 
personally customizable interface? Do we praise CodeWarrior-- the 
premier Macintosh programming language used by the leading software 
engineers, and invite future potential users to start their education 
in event-loop, function driven Mac programming with easy-to-learn 
FB^3..."their stepping stone to the future"? (Rules 1 and 9)

4. Where have we spread our seeds? Do we plant six in the glossiest 
magazines and give up? Do we ignore those whom we deem biased (after 
all, MacAddict uses a RealBASIC driven interface on its CDs, and Ric 
Ford, well you know, he's Ric Ford-- never mind that MacIntouch 
reaches tens of thousands of Mac lovers and potential FB^3 customers 
and that Ric Ford has never seen a copy of FB^3). BTW, Chris, when 
was the last time you dropped Ric an e-mail thanking him for 
Macintouch? (Rules 3 and 10)

5. Speaking of MacAddict-- one of the most successful Mac consumer 
mags and the market leader in offering CDs-- where is our FB^3 CD 
demo? Don't have time to develop it? Ever think about giving away 
FBII? Did you ever get a free Coke? A free AOL disk? A free copy of 
QuickBasic on your Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 disk? (I know, we don't 
use Microsoft products here and bad mouth them at every opportunity, 
spitting venom and bragging in our printed material that we don't use 
them... and in the process alienating millions of potential friends 
who, like me, would give up FB^3 long before we give up Excel 98 
which ranks in my top 10 list of the best Mac software ever 
developed.) Today, Coke's market capitalization is $160,500,000,000; 
AOL is merging with Time-Warner to form the biggest corporate in the 
history of humankind; and "retired" Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is worth 
$112,826,457,500. Mama always said, "If you can't say something good 
about somebody, don't say anything at all." (Rules 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 

6. Have we scattered vast quantities of seeds (accompanied by free 
gift CDs for the publishers) on: TidBITS, MacSurfer, MacFixit, 
NoBeige, AppleLinks, MacCentral, MacObserver, MacOSRumors, MacUpdate, 
AnAppleADay, AsTheAppleTurns, MacPage, EveryMac, iMac2Day, 
iMacNewsPage, InfoAlley, Low-EndMac, MacKiDoTemple, Mac-Mania, 
MacOpinion, MacOrchard, MacOSWorld, MacsOnly, MacSpectre, MacSurfer, 
MacTips, MacUpdate, MacUser, Macville, SemperMac ad Macinfinitum? 
(Rules 4, 5 and 6)

7. How do we treat the most intensive Mac user market segment: kids. 
Youngest regular poster on this list appears to be Matt-- and he's 
away in the Guard. Many of us are giving The Swede a run for senior 
laurels while the kids are pounding out game code on their RealBASIC 
demos. Give the kids FBII on their MacAddict CD when they're 15, and 
when the turn 18 and head to college they'll buy FB^5 and take it 
with them. And when they turn 28 they'll buy their first grader a 
copy of FB^XV Gold and Staz and Andy will retire in luxury. (Rules 4, 
5, 6, 7 and 8)

8. Where can I buy "FB^3 for Idiots"? (No particular rule-- just 
threw it it in. BTW, I can buy "Idiot" books for just about every 
Microsoft product. Was in Barnes and Noble before the holidays and 
saw customers carrying them out in droves. Ain't that funny?) When 
was the last time we chatted with IDG about the idea? (Rule 7)

9. If at first we don't succeed, do we try again? Abraham Lincoln 
lost many elections on his road to the presidency. J.C. Penney went 
bankrupt several times on the road to success. But they didn't give 
up. In Lincoln's case, he often returned to the same Ric Fords-- I 
mean electorate-- and was defeated again, only to get up, brush 
himself off and go back to them again. Each time more and more 
learned who he was-- even if they didn't like him. Today, everybody 
knows him. (Rules 3 and 10)

10. When someone does something nice for us-- regardless of how 
small-- do we express our appreciation, even if it's just a simple 
"thank-you" note? If they don't do something for us, do we kindly 
thank them anyway for their consideration and ask in a pleasant 
manner what we could do different in the future. (Rule 1)

11. When all else fails, do we launch diatribes, bad-mouthing, 
flaming and burning behind us all bridges to future conciliation, and 
condemn everything and everyone related to our object of scorn? 
(Rules 1, 2 and 12)

12. When all else fails, do we swallow hard, smile, express thanks 
for our life, family and friends, and head out to try all over again?

For three decades I have carefully studied how market leaders get-- 
and stay--where they are, albeit through the eyes of my pond-life 
industry. To be sure, there are those who attempt shortcuts (bribe 
the sales rep: "I'll buy an ad if you promise me a free review on the 
front page" because their product-- like them-- can't stand on its 
own merits.) In the short haul, the "shortcutters" may succeed. Long 
term, they invariably self destruct taking down with them their 
co-conspirators. The few that do make it die alone.

Since Zedcor days I have lamented FBs pitiful marketing. By 
"marketing" I don't simply mean expensive ads in the glossies and 
big-name catalogs, but conveying of an image by repeated media 
exposure which, if done right, can be done on a low budget, a la Ben 
and Jerry's Ice Cream. And the internet is a marketer's dream come 
true. (Wonder why I can't buy an FB^3 subscription from Cyberian 
Outpost? Where is the FB^3 introductory offer on DealMac?)

I take the time to write this because FutureBASIC has afforded me and 
my family many hours of refreshing enjoyment. The other day my 
youngest son had a school assignment on computer programming and 
asked me if I could teach him. We sat down together and whipped up a 
simple "Hello World" app with a "Beep" button. We compiled it, he 
pasted his own icon on the finished app and glowed with achievement. 
It's a moment I'll treasure.

Quite often I receive requests for product reviews from software 
publishers. Last week I received an e-mail from the marketing manager 
for DeLorme, the map-makers. The company is introducing computerized 
3-D topo quad maps for each state (PC of course). The tone of the 
manager's note was kind, and he suggested some typical applications 
for the maps including by outdoorsmen and vacationers. In his 
no-pressure message offered me a free review copy of the software. 
This spring we are planning to publish a regional recreation guide, 
so I accepted the offer. The manager immediately responded to my 
request, thanked me graciously for at least considering his product, 
and noted that since the region my publications cover includes two 
states, he would send copies of mapping programs for both states. 
Yesterday, in a USPS Priority package, I received the review 
software-- no strings attached. Even if the DeLorme review gets 
pulled at the last minute to make room for more pressing material, I 
see the company in a favorable light and, by my writing this to all 
members on the list, the company is indirectly reaping rewards.

DeLorme's seeds are sprouting; its water is flowing.

DeLorme, or at least this manager, is doing things right.

Fact is FB^3 is not a perfect product. It does not easily address the 
Appearance manager, or DEFs, or, in its current iteration, OOP. It's 
not yet cross-platform and suffers from poor documentation for rank 
beginners. And a lot of us are still trying to figure out which 
runtime does what.

Nevertheless, it remains in a class by itself as the speediest, most 
flexible and powerful beginners programming language on the Mac.

 From a marketing standpoint, Staz needs to unshackle FB^3 to succeed.

Forget the negativity. Forget the failures. Forget the past.

Plant the seeds and they will grow.

Flame away if you want...

... But remember Rules 11 and 12.

Best to you all,

Ken Shmidheiser
General Manager and Editor
cnhi Newspapers

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Subject: [FB] FB^3: View from the pond