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The Marketing Plan (At Last!)


Everyone can find the Xanadu marketing plan and all the sundry 
attachments thereto in the folder "principia and discussion" 
under Tops in my folder "current work". These are Microsoft Word 
documents; if somebody doesn't have access to Word, let me know.

In my role as Keeper Of the Schedule, I am frankly terrified 
of disseminating the marketing plan. It is clear that many people 
want to work on the marketing plan as much as they want to work 
on software. When I last suggested that making software is more 
important than making marketing plans, I was practically shouted 
down--I remember at least four people who couldn't speak fast 
enough to voice their disagreement.

But I still maintain that software is more important than marketing, 
for the following reason: marketing is much more forgiving than 
software. If your marketing plan has a flaw in it, you can still 
make millions of dollars; though there are some ways of marketing 
so flawed that it is fatal, only a small percentage of marketing 
mistakes fall into this category. 

For the software which must be completed before marketing can 
even begin, however, the percentage of flaws which are fatal 
is quite large. Let's face it, folks: we are far more likely 
to fail for lack of swiftly developed adequate software, than 
for lack of adequate marketing. Early shipment, while the market 
is still mostly virgin, will make up for a LOT of marketing errors!

I also fear for people's clear-headedness while reading this. 
When I read the first draft of this document, I was astonished 
by how strong my own irrational anger was at various passages--indeed, 
I had the rather peculiar sensation of watching my anger from 
another part of my mind, and knowing that my reaction was irrational 
even while continuing to feel anger. This was particularly bizarre 
for me considering how noncontroversial the plan really was, 
even in the first draft.

The plan is even less controversial now. So one might expect 
fewer moments of outrage from people reading the second draft. 
On the other hand, since I am one of the "youngest" members of 
the team, I have far fewer deep-seated opinions on these matters 
than some. For some of us, much smaller stimulation may provoke 
much greater irrationality. We are discussing religious issues 
here, and I can feel it in almost every paragraph.

Perhaps I am wrong to be so afraid; perhaps no one else will 
suffer from the kind of inappropriate anger I felt while reading 
the first draft; perhaps everyone will read this document with 
the purity of analytical thought that one needs to plan wisely. 
Go ahead and prove me wrong in my prediction of religious-style 
argument. Make my day! :-)

Having made my last desperate plea for clear minds and clear 
priorities, let me make some introductions to the plan.

In the folder, you will find the Marketing Plan II,  a series 
of comment documents, and a folder that contains the first draft 
of the plan. Don't bother reading the first draft at all. But 
some of the comments on that first draft may be interesting to 
people, because you may find more explanation of why certain 
things are said in the second draft.

I might actually recommend reading the comments on the second 
draft before reading the second draft itself. The comments make 
an odd introduction, but they highlight areas where communication 
is ambiguous.

Regardless, I recommend that, as you read the plan, you jot down 
your ideas and issues in your own "comments on the plan" document. 
Save that document in the plan folder. We will hold a chickenshit 
debating society meeting soon (how about next Thursday at canonical 
7PM?) on the marketing strategy.

I also recommend skipping the Recommendations until you've read 
the rest of the document. Joel starts out with a summary/recommendations. 
This is good design for presenting the document to Autodesk decision 
makers, who may want to just read this piece and nothing else. 
But for native Xanadians, reading the bald conclusions without 
any warmup is a sure way to get lit up for the wrong reasons 
(if we had this online in Xanadu, of course, we would just have 
2 different inclusion lists, one for Autodesk and one for us, 
with the recommendations at the top in one and at the bottom 
in the other). 

A particular point that may puzzle people is joel's reference 
to "Xanadu's principally OEM strategy". Reading joel's description 
of OEM strategies versus Third Party Developer strategy, one 
notes that we have always talked like we had a Third Party Developer 
strategy. But in fact, when one looks at all the plans we have 
made, the underpinning actions we have planned all look like 
what you'd do for the OEM strategy. So don't pay any attention 
to statements about what Xanadu used to plan. We all agree that 
Xanadu should be primarily using a Third Party Developer strategy; 
focus on joel's recommendations and explanations of how to get 

Finally, joel introduces the term "issue processing" for the 
market position for our first product, but doesn't define it 
very much. I suspect everyone has an intuitive sense for what 
this means, mostly summed up in the idea, "Hey, marcs, I have 
an ISSUE with THAT STATEMENT right there in the middle paragraph". 
Issue processing is a great term for what we're going to support, 
for far more reasons than discussed in the plan. We should not 
mention this term anywhere outside our own little group until 
we're ready to start advertising; the marketing concept "issue 
processing" should be treated in the meantime as a secret as 
deep as the ent algorithm.

Let us make it possible to reveal the term issue-processing as 
soon as possible. Let us get the software into shrinkwrap.