Looking for Clues

ctodx
06 October 2006

Well, after my couple of strongly worded posts earlier this week (one, two), I've been chatting to both Nick Hodges and David I. on the phone.

Both have admitted to me that, even if they could talk about the spin- off (which they're not), they couldn't say much anyway, since they are as much in the dark about its progress as you and me. And, having been through a couple of company purchases in my TurboPower days, I can believe them.

They also asked me to realize that although DTG (Developer Tools Group) is technically part of Borland still, it should for all intents and purposes be considered as a separate entity. So, let's consider the pluses of DTG since the announcement of the spin-off and that bode very well for the future.

Enthusiasm. Well, they certainly have this in spades. Everyone I've spoken to, both in DTG and on the outside, say that the staff in DTG are rejuvenated and positive about their products and about the future. They feel as if they are in control of their own destiny again, and that certainly came across with my phone conversations.

Quality. Slowly but surely, DTG is getting a handle on the quality of their products again. We've had updates, hotfixes, and even hotfix rollups (soon I imagine we'll be getting hotfix burritos); we've had initiatives like Nick's "give me your top bugs for the IDE"; we've had thought games like "if you had $100 to spend on Delphi fixes or features, what would you spend it on?"

Turbo. Finally, the Turbo versions were released (The Free and the Cheap). This is a great achievement, even though we can argue about the execution of it.

Expansion. In a company that's committed to reducing the numbers of its staff, DTG has managed to increase its employee count, and has done so by employing (and in some cases re-employing) people who really care about the product.

Nevertheless, there are some minuses. I alluded to one last time (who knows whether Borland will see through this applauded spin-off?), but the one I want to dwell on here is one that directly affects us, Developer Express. It is that they have been extremely remiss in not imparting some of their deepest plans with their third-party vendor community.

Let's see. I've been employed as CTO of Developer Express for six months now, and so far I've been to Redmond three times (at DX' expense, mind you, but at Microsoft's invitation) to meet with various groups there, all under NDA (so, no, you can't ask, and, if I told you, I'd have to kill you). I'm planning my fourth, at the end of this month. The Fairfield Inn love me up there, and upgrade me every time now.

And Scotts Valley? None, nada, zip. I've never been asked. Where is it again? There has not been a single "come see what we're working on and play with the bits" meeting that I could have gone to. I'm not asking for Borland/DTG to pay for me and everyone else to go, I'm just asking for a day's worth of NDA meetings and demonstrations and individual chats so that it's worth my time to go and understand what DTG is doing and where it's going. Heck, I'll even take Nick and Allen out to dinner.

It seems that my posts may have triggered something though: I'm told there's going to be a video conference next week, by invitation only, to talk about DTG's future plans that will affect the third-party community. I fully intend to participate.

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