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Talking to marketing people about Python

P: n/a
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
Sep 24 '06 #1
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21 Replies


P: n/a
Roy Smith wrote:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
No, but if you gave him a piece of paper with "please turn over" written
on both sides you could perhaps keep him otherwise occupied to the
company's benefit.

Seriously (and I suppose as a PSF director I should be serious from time
to time), you could point out that it will increase the availability of
your base product. Point out that there are Python APIs for many
services (Amazon S3, del.icio.us, digg to name just a few) and that
these bring the services within the scope of many more people.

Lastly, remind him that the customer is always right, and the large
customer usually even more right. You already have evidence of demand
from the customer base: aren't large customers a part of your market?
Show him the enquiry!

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC/Ltd http://www.holdenweb.com
Skype: holdenweb http://holdenweb.blogspot.com
Recent Ramblings http://del.icio.us/steve.holden

Sep 25 '06 #2

P: n/a
Roy Smith enlightened us with:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl
binding for our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python
binding on my own, chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had
a (large) customer enquire about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a
few weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got
an email from a product manager who wants to meet with me to
"understand the market demand for Python API before we commercialize
it".
1) The customer wants it already.
2) The language is good enough for NASA and Google.

Sybren
--
Sybren Stüvel
Stüvel IT - http://www.stuvel.eu/
Sep 25 '06 #3

P: n/a
Roy Smith schrieb:
>
Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
please also look for the "Python success stories"

There is also a aviation control system running with Python / using
Python bindings.

Google offers Python bindings and has employed the BDFL and at least
one ~bot. I think nobody would doubt that Google has the most knowledge
about online services - maybe there is something about Python?

You can also point out that Python is especially suited for secure
online applications, with more web frameworks than keywords it offers a
very high "security through diversity", as no single vulnerabilitie can
be exploited across a big enough ecosphere.

Harald

Sep 25 '06 #4

P: n/a

Roy Smith wrote:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
There isn't an immediate economical benefit, but a technician has to
care for the "state of the art". It is both a net-effect regarding
technologies and developers but also something more vague, which is a
little harder to get: a product has to have a certain appeal. Perl
might have been a good decision 10 years ago but appears a bit shaddy
these days where better designed languages exist with equal power and
far more clean APIs.

Sep 25 '06 #5

P: n/a
Roy Smith wrote:
>
Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
As a sometimes marketing droid on my day job (please don't tell
anyone!) I think you should point out that, while 5-10 years ago Perl
was more popular and widely used than Python, Python has been growing
at a much higher rate, and by many (most?) measurements, Python is now
more widely used than Perl for many types of applications.

These measurements are not precise, but all of the below show Python
catching or surpassing Perl today:

1. Number of newsgroup postings
2. Number of books published and sold
3. Number of universities offering courses
4. Number of commerical training courses and seminars offered
5. Number of job listings on internet job listing boards.

With Python, it's all about growth; the growth rate of Python, by any
of the measurements above and others too numerous to mention, is far
greater than Perl's growth rate. Any marketing droid worth his salt
should be impressed with high growth rates persisting over several
years. ;-))

Ron Stephens
www.awaretek.com/plf.html

Sep 25 '06 #6

P: n/a
In article <11**********************@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups .com>,
rd*****@mac.com wrote:
5. Number of job listings on internet job listing boards.
I just did a quick survey for Perl and Python jobs on some of the big IT
job boards. I came up with:

Site Perl Python
Hotjobs 2756 655
Monster >1000 317
Dice 4828 803

I'm not sure how I'm going to spin that to a marketing guy to make him
think that "by many (most?) measurements, Python is now more widely used
than Perl for many types of applications"

Has somebody done a historical analysis of job listing growth over the past
few years? If there was a graph showing the lines cross in N years, that
would be more impressive.
Sep 25 '06 #7

P: n/a
Roy Smith wrote:
>5. Number of job listings on internet job listing boards.

I just did a quick survey for Perl and Python jobs on some of the big IT
job boards. I came up with:

Site Perl Python
Hotjobs 2756 655
Monster >1000 317
Dice 4828 803

I'm not sure how I'm going to spin that to a marketing guy to make him
think that "by many (most?) measurements, Python is now more widely used
than Perl for many types of applications"
I think the use of "applications" here implies "new applications", not "applications
still in use somewhere".

did you try searching for Cobol, btw ?

</F>

Sep 25 '06 #8

P: n/a
Fredrik Lundh wrote:
I think the use of "applications" here implies "new applications", not "applications
still in use somewhere".
Good point, Fredrik. I do recall that, a few years ago, I graphed the
*growth rate* of new Sourceforge projects written in Python vs. the
same for Perl, and it was a very clear growth trend in Python's favor;
even though Perl still had more total projects because of its earlier
popularity. However, I did not keep the data.

Ron Stephens

Sep 25 '06 #9

P: n/a
Roy Smith wrote:
Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
You might want to take a look at Chapter 1 of "Programming Python" (3rd
edition, unless it's not changed much from the 2nd). It's even described
in the Preface as being a general introduction that can be used to
explain the language to management and non-programmers.
Sep 25 '06 #10

P: n/a
Might be handy to point out that the Python version will be easier (and
therefore cheaper) to maintain compared to the Perl version. As someone
said there are numerous success stories at python.org.

You could also point him at :

http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm

Although Perl is higher than Python (by one place) you will noticed
that Perl activity is in sharp decline in contrast to Python's steady
growth.

I think Google also gives a pretty big endorsement of Python (as you
wanted the marketing angle).

Cheers,
Tony

Sep 25 '06 #11

P: n/a
codefire wrote:
I think Google also gives a pretty big endorsement of Python (as you
wanted the marketing angle).
or, depending on what part of the IT ecosystem you spend most of your
time in, Microsoft (IronPython).

</F>

Sep 25 '06 #12

P: n/a
rd*****@mac.com wrote:
As a sometimes marketing droid on my day job (please don't tell
anyone!) I think you should point out that, while 5-10 years ago Perl
was more popular and widely used than Python, Python has been growing
at a much higher rate, and by many (most?) measurements, Python is now
more widely used than Perl for many types of applications.
Anecdotally, I've been surprised lately at the number of standalone
applications that show up on Debian-testing I've seen written in
Python. (Used to be pretty much just sketch and Zope.) Haven't seen
too much new stuff in Perl. I could be biased.

Still don't know whether labeling something as written in Python is
intended to be a "badge of honor" or "advance warning".
Carl Banks

Sep 25 '06 #13

P: n/a

Roy Smith wrote:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
You might point out that Perl is really dragging its feet on a next
major release (what's it been, like 5 years?), which is almost
certainly undoing some of its FUD power. Therefore, it would be a good
idea for your company to invest in some alternatives to Perl sooner
than later.

Carl Banks

Sep 25 '06 #14

P: n/a
In article <11*********************@i3g2000cwc.googlegroups.c om>,
"codefire" <to**********@gmail.comwrote:
Might be handy to point out that the Python version will be easier (and
therefore cheaper) to maintain compared to the Perl version. As someone
said there are numerous success stories at python.org.

You could also point him at :

http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm

Although Perl is higher than Python (by one place) you will noticed
that Perl activity is in sharp decline in contrast to Python's steady
growth.
Now, *that's* a graphic a marketing droid can understand. Green arrow up
vs. two red arrows down. Thanks.

Of course, the scary part of that graphic is that after I show it to the
marketing droids, I might find myself working on building a PHP or VB
binding for our product :-(
Sep 26 '06 #15

P: n/a

Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
Unfortunately, if management goes further down the page, they find
Ruby and "D" (when did that get out) both rated so many up arrows they
had to use shorthand notation to represent 14 arrows...
Yes, there is no doubt Ruby is gaining traction - mostly due to the
success of Ruby on Rails. I was in the Ruby community in the very early
days and it was like being in a quiet backwater. As soon as ROR came on
the scene the whole thing just exploded.

I chose Python over Ruby because it has more maturity and stability (in
terms of the product). Python does the job and does it well and is
steadily growing and improving.

D has been around for several years at least. It doesn't really compete
with Python though. But not sure if it would be suitable for the
product mentioned at the start of this thread.

Cheers,
Tony

Sep 26 '06 #16

P: n/a
Roy Smith <ro*@panix.comwrites:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
What market is your company in?

Try to find examples of Python used in similar contexts (this
newsgroup is not a bad place to do that, of course, but you haven't
told us what the market is).

John

Sep 27 '06 #17

P: n/a
"Carl Banks" <pa************@gmail.comwrites:
[...]
Still don't know whether labeling something as written in Python is
intended to be a "badge of honor" or "advance warning".
:-)

I'm always surprised when people name *applications* with 'Py' in the
name, unless they're squarely aimed at the geek market (but I guess
quite a few open source apps *do* fall into that category). It does
seem quite a frequent occurence for that to happen.
John

Sep 27 '06 #18

P: n/a
Roy Smith wrote:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
(I don't expect you to answer the questions below to us, they might
well be business secrets, it's just things you might want to think
about.)

It's certainly reasonable to ask those questions. Every item on your
product list has a cost (even if the development is done already), in
terms of maintenance, administration, making the product portfolio less
easy to digest etc. Also, if you've read Brook's "Mythical Man Month",
you know that it's a big difference between fully working code and
shippable product. Documentation, packaging etc costs plenty.

You need a reasonable demand to pay for these costs. Whether the
bindings have their own price in your price list, or are bundled and
seem to increase the overall value and lead to more sales of the big
product is a different matter.

I guess it might be good if you can figure out what he's really after...
Is this just business are usual, or have they been burnt by something
else? Is the Perl binding seen as a profit maker, or is it just a cost?

If there is a customer who wants it, that's certainly a relevant start,
particularly if they are willing to pay for it...

It's difficult to say so much without knowing more about your market. If
you plan to sell your system to Google, it might well be a big plus!

I'm not involved in the Perl community, so maybe I'm misinformed, but it
seems to me that Perl is a language in decline. I quote the perl6 web
site: "The community brainstorming process finished August 1, 2000,
resulting in 361 RFCs." There is no release date set yet, more than six
years later. I suspect that most of those who want a better Perl than
Perl 5, have changed to Ruby already, even if the Perl 5 development has
continued from 5.6.0 to 5.8.8.

After all, there are reasons why the Perl community wanted to change
Perl so drastically, and there are also reasons why it wasn't deemed
reasonable to change the language more gradually. Compare this with
Python, where we progressively get new features in each version, and
the purpose of the next major rewrite is more about trimming off
annoying warts in a controlled way. Many of the Perl 6 features the
Perl community are still waiting for have been in Python for a long,
long time. Others have been smoothly incorporated into the last years
minor revisions of Python while Perl is standing still.

I suspect that most of those with a lot of Perl code, will continue to
use it, but for new development, Perl might not be a preferred solution.
Providing a Python option gives you another strength here. Python can do
what Perl does, but it scales better, it's easier to maintain, and while
it's mature and widely spread, it's very actively developed, backed by
giants such as Google, and still growing in popularity. Just look at
Python and Perl books at Amazon.com. For Perl, 4 of the 12 books in the
first page (listing by relevance) are written in 2005-2006. For Python,
it's 8 of 12. Guess where the action is!

In other words, Python has to a significant taken over the role Perl
had. Perl once succeeded because it was in the right place at the
right time, but it's failed in the long ruin because it can't handle
the complexity of real world applications when they scale. It gets too
messy. Python can. I'm certainly not the only old Perl programmer who
jumped ship as soon as I met Python and never looked back.

The only competitor to Python that I see today when it comes to
delivering functionality for general application development at a
very high productivity, is Ruby. Python is much more mature and widely
used than Ruby. As I see it, Python's multi-paradigm approach is also
more useful than Ruby's pure OO mindset.

Google is using Python a lot, and investing money in the development
of the language and main implementation. Microsoft is investing in its
..NET port IronPython, which was just released inversion 1.0. There are
other interesting projects, such as the E.U. funded PyPy project, which
might open up new doors.
Sep 29 '06 #19

P: n/a
Magnus Lycka wrote:
In other words, Python has to a significant taken over the role Perl
had.
This seems relevant to that thought (although it's not working right
now): http://suttree.com/2006/09/02/php-is-the-new-classic/
Sep 29 '06 #20

P: n/a
In article <ef**********@wake.carmen.se>,
Magnus Lycka <ly***@carmen.sewrote:
>
In other words, Python has to a significant taken over the role Perl
had. Perl once succeeded because it was in the right place at the
right time, but it's failed in the long ruin because it can't handle
the complexity of real world applications when they scale.
+1 typo of the week! ;-)
--
Aahz (aa**@pythoncraft.com) <* http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"LL YR VWL R BLNG T S" -- www.nancybuttons.com
Sep 29 '06 #21

P: n/a
Lots of folks have pointed out large scale Python success stories
ranging from NASA to Google to Amazon. Such companies should make for
good PHB fodder in your argument. Most likely if the product manager is
just a drone you can throw in some other acceptable norm. Since
IronPython and Microsoft's .NET CLR are bound you can state that Python
is a language that runs on .NET.

Kind of like another language I work with when I get a chance. I like
Smalltalk and there's a variant that runs in the new Microsoft Vista
WPE environment (http://vistascript.net). If this was a mature option
and if I was to pitch this to a PHB or some other corporate tool I
would classify Smalltalk as an option that sits atop the cutting edge
Microsoft WPE framework.

These in-routes seem to be ways that dynamic/scripting/fringe languages
are gaining traction in larger organizations. Just wrap them up into a
Java VM, .NET CLR, etc. and off you go :-)

Roy Smith wrote:
I'm working on a product which for a long time has had a Perl binding for
our remote access API. A while ago, I wrote a Python binding on my own,
chatted it up a bit internally, and recently had a (large) customer enquire
about getting access to it.

I asked for permission to distribute the Python binding, and after a few
weeks of winding its way through the corporate bureaucracy I got an email
from a product manager who wants to meet with me to "understand the market
demand for Python API before we commercialize it".

Can anybody suggest some good material I can give to him which will help
explain what Python is and why it's a good thing, in a way that a
marketing/product management person will understand?
Sep 30 '06 #22

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