Core Connectors

ConnectorGreater IBM has made a "call for core connectors". Hmmm. Core connectors? What kind of cores are they that need to be connected? Most of the current IBMers are not old enough to remember "core" memory that was used in mainframes. Core connectors also sounds like something from a Lego parts list. Both of these thoughts are nostalgic but we all know that is not what IBM has in mind.

The goal is to build a social networking community -- a "place" where the possibilities are endless -- collaboration on projects, personal networking for jobs and deals, referrals to and from IBM, and networking just for the fun of it. One of the key questions being asked is how does Greater IBM get highly-networked 'core connectors' to spend the time to help get things going and spur organic growth of the community. Not easy for sure.

The challenge is that the people who are the best networkers are already so busy networking that it is hard to motivate them to take on yet another "channel" of communications. I encounter the same challenge at the numerous boards where I am privileged to serve and that have the same goals as IBM -- building their communities. I don't claim to have the magic answer but in short the best approach I have seen over the years is to apply tenacious program management, just as IBM is doing. Occasional emails from people encouraging the "cc's" to visit the blog and or group and post something eventually work. It is a given that the people with the most to contribute are also the ones with the least time and so the occasional nudge often causes things to happen.

The other angle is to publicize success stories about how the community has actually helped someone. It is best if the person actually helped tells their own story -- again perhaps with a little prodding. The successes are often subtle and indirect. It isn't that someone posts "I need a job" and they get an email with an offer for the dream job. More likely the job (or deal) comes from someone who knows someone who knows someone who read something about an opportunity or a person and then was able to make the connection. Sometimes there are multiple bank shots involved. Here is an example of what I mean.

I started writing "reflections" in 1996 and they evolved into my blog. In the early days of RSS (really simple syndication) many people didn't know what a blog reader was and didn't know how to include an RSS feed into their browser or news portal. I started enabling people to "subscribe" to my blog in a way that generates an email version of each story that I write. There are now more approximately 400 people who read patrickWeb via email. When readers like a story they tend to forward it to their friends and this results in more subscribers and more readers. Some of the readers are reporters. Sometimes a reporter will send an email asking for an interview. The interview gets covered in the press. XYZ Company decides to hold a conference for their customers and they call or visit the Washington Speakers Bureau to get an outside speaker. The WSB refers XYZ to the interview that was in the press and sets up an engagement for a paid speech. In some cases the story that lead to the chain of events may have had nothing to do with the ultimate subject of interest to XYZ -- it was the communications that lead to something that lead to something, etc. The same principles apply to getting a job or landing a deal.

Building the community and getting tangible results from it takes a lot of time and tenacity. Greater IBM is on the case and making progress. I encourage all of us out there with stories to tell to keep telling them. You never know where they will lead.

Related links
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bullet Other patrickWeb stories about IBM

by John R Patrick August 27, 2006 in History, People
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Mainframe meets "The Office"

And from the “just for fun” file….

Here’s a “trilogy” of short videos created for internal IBM sales meetings. 


Mainframe - The Art of the Sale, Lesson One

Lesson Two

Lesson Three

by Timothy Sipples August 21, 2006
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Intro to MF Redbook

Just been pointed at this redbook by a colleague. It's called "Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics." Here is a cut and paste of the description:

This IBM Redbook provides students of information systems technology with the background knowledge and skills necessary to begin using the basic facilities of a mainframe computer. It is the first in a planned series of textbooks designed to introduce students to mainframe concepts and help prepare them for a career in large systems computing.

Download is available. Let's give a copy to every poor youth who thinks that CTL-ALT-DEL is the way to run a production system (actually let's cut their hands off as well), so that when asked what is JES, they don't think it's a girl they tried to chat up in the second year at college.

by pwarmstrong August 8, 2006
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