And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Sometimes you just can't see the forest for the trees. Over the years, I've tried to interest IBM in several marketing schemes in an ongoing effort to stimulate the sale of new TPF licenses. Well I'm happy to announce that I've finally come up with the definitive way to accomplish this. In fact it's so incredibly obvious that you'll kick yourself for not coming up with the answer on your own. Here's a couple of hints:

Elmer and Viola Hayseed don't have high school educations (or for that matter very many teeth), but they've made two billion dollars selling real estate. Or how about Buffy and her friends lounging around in their nighties debating the social and political implications of waxing their legs. And let's not ignore the tremendous scientific breakthroughs made by the people who brought us the Wonder Mop, or the Slice & Dice Kitchen Tool. You've guessed it folks, it's the late night Infomercial, and it might go something like this...


“Here's Len and Kathryn, to tell you about an exciting new product that will solve all of your transaction processing problems faster than ever before. (applause, applause, applause) “Are you tired of slow response times? Are you fed up with IPL's and cold starts that take forever to complete? Have you had it with high cost-per-transaction rates? (shouts of acknowledgement) Well then it's time to take that IMS or CICS system and just toss it in the trash, because TPF can eliminate all of these problems, and more.”

“In just nanoseconds, TPF can process thousands of tranasctions. Reservations, commodities trades, credit card authorizations, tax returns... you name it and TPF can handle it faster than any other operating system in the world! Terabytes of database? Not a problem for TPF! Thousands of users? Still not a problem! TPF runs circles around those other systems, and leaves a sparkling shine on your raised floors. (oohs and aahs) But there's more! You can write your applications in Assembler or ANSI C, and take advantage of the VisualAge for TPF development platform. (lots of impressed faces) Plus if you order right now, we'll include at no extra cost a complete set of softcopy documentation on CD for your reading pleasure. Just imagine curling up with a good Logic Manual on a chilly night in the data center.”

“A new Recoup, Folders and Pockets, Persistent Collections, the Apache Web Server... ladies and gentlemen this product does it all. Still not convinced? Alright, I'll tell you what we'll do. Pick up the phone and order your copy of TPF this week, and we'll do something no other vendor can do... We'll throw in the source code!” (standing ovation)

“What more could you ask for? That's your own copy of TPF, the full set of softcopy documentation on CD, and the source code. Call us today, and as a “smart shopper” bonus we'll include a 30 day supply of CTL-1, the revolutionary tool that removes unsightly facial hair, whitens teeth, eliminates unwanted gas, kills fleas, cleans windows, unclogs stubborn drains, and leaves your breath minty fresh. (resounding applause and cheers) So grab your credit cards, and call us right now at 1-800-BIG-BLUE. Our operators are standing by.”


Well, maybe it wouldn't go quite like that, but I think you get my drift. Millions of people watch Infomercials, and there's no disputing the fact that they do sell products. As a marketing tool, the Infomercial is one of the most powerful ways of reaching millions of people with your message. The interesting thing is that no one has ever done an Infomercial on an operating system, and I can't think of a more effective way to reach a such a huge potential customer audience with detailed product information. IBM has put forth an admirable effort to position TPF as the product for the future of transaction processing. Why can't a similar forward-thinking approach be taken for marketing it?

Alan Sadowsky