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The Masked MultiValue Business Consultant – Con Man or Clever Man ?

Published over 6 years ago by Elkie Holland

I was on the phone recently and was shocked to hear from a long time business associate (who will remain nameless and referred to only as "Masked Man") that they now no longer say they are MultiValue when they are out and about.  After recovering from my initial shock thinking they'd jumped ship from MultiValue and I'd only spoken to them 3 months ago, I delved a little deeper.

I thought long and hard on whether to write this or not but decided to, so here goes:

ELKIE:  What do you mean you aren’t MultiValue any more ?

MASKED MAN: Well I am but as part of any opening discussion with someone I 

don’t voluntarily say I am.

ELKIE:  OK, help me out here as I’m confused.  If you haven’t changed job, technology or company and haven’t had senility setting in, what do you mean?

MASKED MAN:  We are all getting older, but I’d like to say wiser, rather than suggesting I’m losing the plot !

For the longest time, when asked what sort of business I am in, I always used to say that “I work in IT with a great technology known as MultiValue”.  I used to celebrate the fact that I sold and worked with  a MultiValue toolset and I was proud to be associated with the MultiValue brand.  However, when I begin talking to people outside of the MultiValue community, I no longer voluntarily say that I work in the MultiValue market place and I actively stay away from the MultiValue world initially.

Of course, if the person I am talking to knows about MultiValue technologies or asks a direct question, then I never hide form the fact.

ELKIE: This sounds like you are being dishonest.  Surely, you need to let the person know what sector you are working in.  Surely, you don’t let them think you are working in the mainstream RDBMS sector.

MASKED MAN:  Well, I could take the approach that the end result is more important than what is has been written in and often this would be my approach for an application sale.  However, my main job is evangelising and selling MultiValue so that I can then bring in my flavour of MultiValue to the conversation.

So no, I don’t go down the route of being dishonest.  It is a slippery one and fraught with traps that can cause you problems.

When talking to someone for the ‘very first time’ I offer that “I work in IT and specialise in a very special technology that falls under the NoSQL umbrella.  People have heard of NoSQL and they usually vaguely know what it is.  Even if they do not, they usually know about SQL, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Even if they are still clueless I can introduce MS Access, SQL Server or Oracle as SQL based technologies and then explain that NoSQL is a more modern technology aimed at today’s marketplace and modern business needs.

ELKIE:  And what’s the point of that ?

MASKED MAN:  This does a number of things.  Some of my favourites are:

  1. It puts the prospect into a comfortable place and they have a better understanding of where I work.  This leaves the door open.
  2. It helps me to get myself and the prospect on the same page.
  3. I can pull up noSQL on the web and find loads of information to make them feel more comfortable.
  4. If they are still looking confused, then I come in with the big guns and just explain that it’s one of the technologies that Google, Amazon, etc. are built around.  This then often leads into the use of words like cloud computing, big data, fast, efficient, low cost and all the buzz words we like to drop in from time to time.

ELKIE:  But isn’t that dishonest ?

MASKED MAN:   I don’t think so.  It is all about being able to sensibly engage in conversation from the off.  The conversation either doesn’t progress, or if it does, then I say that I work in a very interesting niche within NoSQL.

I got fed up with people glazing over and their next line being about the weather, their latest white goods purchase or some other small talk.  Now, with them engaged and understanding, they often go on to ask me what that interesting niche is.  I am usually talking to IT related people (not just developers) and they are usually familiar with NoSQL and it’s human nature to explore something that is unusual, special and they want to know what the secret is – what are they missing out on.

ELKIE:  So you stay away from MultiValue altogether!  Are you embarrassed or ashamed to be working in this market place?

MASKED MAN:  Hell No!!  I eat, breath and live MultiValue.  I work with some amazing people who turn out some amazing projects at silly prices.  It is just brilliant to deliver solutions that are within budget, on time and that do what the client wants.  MultiValue enables this to happen and I celebrate the fact as soon as possible.

Like most MultiValue developers, I have been around the community for years and I’d have moved to easier technologies to sell to end users if I was embarrassed or ashamed in anyway.  It is tough to stand up and be different, and you can only do that if you absolutely believe in your product, your team around you and if you are totally committed to you product.

I only use the NoSQL card to get the door open and help me to engage with people.  Once we start talking about the niche, MultiValue comes straight out with our history, longevity of solutions, how we have continually adapted to the changes in IT, etc. etc.  Even Microsoft seem to be turning more to hardware these days, just look at the Xbox, Surface and Windows phone.  All of the MultiValue Vendors are still committed to developing and delivering database application development tools for modern business solutions.  If you are talking about database technologies, this is something to celebrate and shout about.

ELKIE:  That is an interesting approach.

MASKED MAN:  Well to be honest, it is not strictly true.  Whilst I would love to go down the MultiValue road, it is a tough and lonely road to travel.  In truth, I actually simply drop into talking about my particular flavour of MultiValue and the benefits and features thereof.

ELKIE:  Ouch – That sounds like you are ashamed of the technology??

MASKED MAN:   No, No – please don’t get me wrong.  It is not the technology that I am ashamed of.  If anything the source of my frustration is with the various MultiValue Vendors.  With the exception of companies like DesignBais who are technology agnostic and Revelation who are delivering support for numerous MultiValue flavours and bringing their front end (web, desktop, data warehousing and debugging tools) to the benefit of the MultiValue market, everyone else ‘appears’ to marketing internally and trying to simply move MultiValue clients between MultiValue flavours – hopefully the recent changes at Rocket will help to change this.

What I would really like to see, is everyone coming together behind the MultiValue brand and marketing it in a single cohesive way.  It’s been suggested and discussed numerous times and I’ve been around long enough to know that any such idea will never get off the ground.

With the NoSQL brand gaining credibility, business needing something that can scale and size quickly and easily, MultiValue really should be jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of the issues with RDBMS at the moment.

ELKIE:  So you are not ashamed?

MASKED MAN:  Definitely not.  MultiValue vendors, resellers, developers and users all know that we have one of the best kept secrets in the IT world.  We have a technology that evolves with business over decades, that has a very low total cost of ownership and which can really support 24x7 business operations.  These mixed with scalability, performance and low resource requirements, make us well placed for tomorrow’s market place. 

Just look at how MultiValue based systems have evolved with businesses over the last 30+ years.  No re-engineering every few years, no costly rewrites when the business changes, no rewrite to support emerging technologies, no, no, no – I could go on all day.

ELKIE:  So what is your one big hitter during an initial conversation?

MASKED MAN: There are too many benefits to MultiValue and I hate to pick one.  If pushed and given the impact of the cloud at the moment, I’d have to spend a little more time on the single disk read and performance.  This is something that every web developer is minded of at the moment. 

ELKIE:  Care to explain more?

MASKED MAN:   Any MultiValue Developer out there will know that we frequently operate with fewer disk reads than RDBMS based systems.  We have less tables, fewer joins, fewer lookups,  and fewer potential points of failure.

Take the web.  If you can request a record and have it return in just one or two disk reads, it has to be better than say 10 or 15 disk reads.  Performance is everything over the web and MultiValue helps to make things fly.  I was recently talking to someone who is working with O4W from Revelation and OpenQM from Ladybridge distributed by Zumasys – The quote was something along the lines of “It just flies”.  It is sound bites like this that just make my day.

Of course database size, security, low maintenance and more are all key in the cloud and it is not hard to take the conversation down those roads once you are invited for a longer conversation over a cool beer or mug of coffee.

Con Man or Clever Man ? 

You decide….

For me, I’ll be staying in touch with my NoSQL / MultiValue client base !

Picture credits:  masked suits - Flickr and batman - Flickr

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