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Discussions, news and rants from the CTO of DevExpress, Julian M Bucknall

Republishing "Message from the CTO" from the DevExpress Newsletter

I was having a chat with Rachel, our advocate of community outreach, and she proposed that I republish my "Message from the CTO" section from each newsletter here on my blog so that you, our customers, can comment on my thoughts. At present,the only way you can comment is by emailing newsletter@devexpress.com. I eventually get to read it, but Rachel's idea is much better. Plus, it's all public.

Here's what I'll do: as soon as I get my copy of the newsletter (yes, I get all the emails that a "normal" customer gets, but three times over for each of my three personas in the system), I'll post the text of the message here. If you want to comment about the topic, please do.

Seems a bit late to do this for the first one, but here's my piece from newsletter 2:

A big conference like TechEd (held last week in LA) is a great time to meet up with customers and those people you'd like to make into customers. The very fact that you are face to face engenders good conversation. Questions and issues are naturally and easily resolved. Trust and civility are understood.

The same ease and spontaneity is much more difficult to achieve with email or forum posts. For a start, there's the disconnectedness: you send off this message into the ether and await an answer, never knowing if it even reaches the recipient. Then there's the ambiguity of the prose: does it read harshly or pejoratively when you had no intent in so being? (After all, that's what emoticons were invented for, right? To remove the jarring notes from textual conversations by simulating human expressions.)

It's hard to do though: reading your own emails as a stranger to confirm your natural civility. It's something I've started doing, care to join me?

Now the very first comment I received about this particular newsletter was this:

Sorry, but the photo is really disturbing and creepy to have in the newsletter e-mail. As soon as I can figure out how to turn the images off I may read it.

Which kind of goes against the theme of the message...

What do you think? (About the topic, not necessarily about that reply.)

Published May 26 2009, 05:24 PM by
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Comments

Jon Winstar

Hi,

I think the photo on the newsletter looks weird. Not your face! But just the way it is trimmed at the bottom makes it look like a floating head. Just crop the photo in a normal rectangle.

Clayton

May 26, 2009 9:24 PM

Michael Proctor

LOL Julian, I feel bad for having a go at your photo on Twitter when the first newsletter came out :) at least I'm not the only one ;)

Ok about the actual content, I would certainly agree, I find alot of people use ! to show it is an important statement however can also be viewed (and in most cases quite rightly) as a "aggresive" manner of speech.

I find a few winks and smiles makes a email/comment/post alot more civil and coveys that although you may feel strongly at the end of the day you aren't scratching the persons name onto your "kill" wall :)

I must also take this opportunity to say a BIG thankyou for the discussions to the support centre. There has been many times when I have "reposted" a support center question because I need more info or feel that it didn't answer the question just right for my scenario, it seems silly to have a new post that has a link in it for the old post :) again thanks and as always no regrets on my subscription.

Hi from down under.

Michael

May 27, 2009 12:27 AM

Brendon Muck [DevExpress MVP]

I think the photo will provide the base for many great Photochops.

May 27, 2009 1:45 AM

Roland

Who is that guy?

May 27, 2009 2:35 AM

Anne

I actually forwarded the newsletter to a colleague with the comment "Julian Bucknall looks kind of strange here". Back then I thought it was just me and my strange habit of nitpicking everything that comes into sight (or my mail inbox), but apparently I wasn't alone.

May 27, 2009 8:16 AM

Neal

I thought he didn't have any hair! :)  I thought all DX'ers were bald clingons! :)

ON a more serious note, I don't think it should be a Julian'gram, but a DevExpress branded product flashy newsletter.  It seems that the majority of the content is the face shot!  I'd rather that be something, well, I'll leave out the words, more product related! :)

I appreciate the newsletters and really look forward to content coming to my doorstep1 :)

May 27, 2009 2:57 PM

Neal

And what's the purpose of the "Remember Me?" below this entry box as I'm already "remembered" as I'm signed in?

May 27, 2009 2:59 PM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

Hi Neal,

You know I've wondered that too about the 'Remember Me'. It's one of those Community server oddities. Smile

May 27, 2009 3:59 PM

Neal

Okay, after running off for a haircut I thought about this request for feedback more.  Newsletter is off to a good start, it's being done!  But one of the few newsletters I really give any attention to, one that really delivers content, tips, things to help me learn, teach me, things you oughta know is that of sqlservercentral.com.  I suggest subscribing to their newsletter, which comes out daily, and learn from its format, content, how it really and truly serves the subscriber education and advertising of course.  It certainly will take an effort to produce but this is what it would take to be truly worthwhile and not just a toting of the horn via e-mail.

Thank you for moving towards yet another initiative to reach out to your customers, keep them involved, and educated all at the same time.

Remember Me? :)

May 27, 2009 4:32 PM

Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Neal: Heh, you chose as example the one newsletter that I no longer read.

All:

Actually that brings up another point. My feeling is that the newsletter should have more original content, rather than repeating what we may have already said elsewhere. The "5 best support questions" straddles the fence here, since not everyone is going to be watching every single thing that happens on the Support Center and so bringing some interesting articles and posts to the readers' attention is a very good thing. Ditto to a lesser extent, the DevExpress Channel topic.

So tell me, would you be more interested in original content in the newsletter? Or is it fine for us to link to existing blog/forum posts, for example?

Another angle to this: what if we had a topic that aggregated non-DevExpress articles on some topic. For example, Rachel has a wealth of links to interesting posts on marketing in a world of social media. Would that be interesting to see in the newsletter? How about more technology-related article aggregations (but not necessarily about DevExpress' products)?

Cheers, Julian

May 27, 2009 5:19 PM

Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

All: And the photo will be changed, if not for the next newsletter, at most the one after that... Brendon has got me thinking about people's mad Photoshop skillz...

Cheers. Julian

May 27, 2009 5:22 PM

Brendon Muck [DevExpress MVP]

You're lucky I can't write code, let alone Photoshop.

May 29, 2009 1:14 AM

About Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Julian is the Chief Technology Officer at Developer Express. You can reach him directly at julianb@devexpress.com. You can also follow him on Twitter with the ID JMBucknall.
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