Marketing E Douglas Crockford (crock@communities.com)
Mon, 26 Oct 1998 10:13:17 -0800

It comes down to a marketing problem. "Who are you selling this to?" The risk here is between being unfocused, trying to appeal to everyone at once, and too narrowly focused, so that even if you win, it is of no consequence.

>From my deeply flawed perspective, if we compete well where Python is, then
we lost; the numbers are too small. If we compete well where Visual Basic is, we win; the numbers are huge. (Visual Basic lacks inheritance, by the way.)

But there are other perspectives, such as the Linux approach, in which you have a small but fiercely dedicated audience, and hope to grow it over the long haul. This might work. Or you can try to compete with Java, but this is very hard. Electric Communities attempted it. I don't recommend it.

I believe that the distributed application space is growing, and is about to explode. The number of distributed application programmers will similarly explode. You can target the guys who are doing it now with CORBA and RMI and such, or you can target the masses who haven't done it yet but will soon.

I think E has a better chance with the newbies. They have less to unlearn, and are better prepared to benefit from the significant leverage that E provides in distributed programming. They have not developed intuitions for managing deadlock and races, and so should find E empowering, while the old guys have trouble seeing the need for it.

The hard part about targeting the Visual Basic crowd is that they expect a complete and polished toolset. For them, the IDE is more important than the language.

Many of the feature questions, such as "Whether inheritance?" are not technical questions but marketing questions. Successful languages exist with inheritance and without it. In the marketing solution space, right and wrong are less important than how well you execute.