My daughter Kalyani is an amazing person. Smart, strong-willed, and just about the greatest Second Grader you'll ever meet. She does, however, possess one less than endearing trait. Kalyani can be an absolute nightmare when things don't go her way. More exactly, Kalyani has trouble when the “Real World” doesn't match the “Big Picture” she has envisioned.
It isn't that Kalyani's “Big Picture” is wrong or impossible to achieve. Nope. The problem is that Kalyani never bothers to communicate her “Big Picture” to the rest of us. She just starts “doing stuff”. This does not go over well with her brother when said “Big Picture” involves his Legos and his train set.
At RoundUp, I had this dawning realization... I am not that different from Kalyani! Quadralay is not that different from Kalyani! I/We/Quadralay just start “doing stuff”. I/We/Quadralay never bother to communicate the “Big Picture”. We talk with customers about the nuts and bolts of the ePublisher Platform. We talk about pipelines, stages, XSL overrides, and page templates. But in all of that, we never once stop to communicate the “Big Picture”. This image, perfectly formed inside our heads, has no concrete form. It exists only in conversations and off-the-cuff emails. And what customers need are not more details without context. Customers need to understand the “Big Picture” that ties all of those details together.
So after RoundUp, I tried a little experiment.
I was scheduled to talk with a customer who wanted to know “how to implement a few things in ePublisher that we used to do in Publisher 2003”. Instead of answering their question directly, I pulled some slides out of our RoundUp keynotes, mixed them together, and just focused on giving them the “Big Picture”. By the end, the customer understood what deploying ePublisher could mean for their organization. Replicating Publisher 2003 features became secondary to understanding how they could use the ePublisher Platform to move far beyond the possibilities offered by Publisher 2003. With the “Big Picture” in their heads, they started asking and answering their own questions. The ePublisher Platform transformed from a mystical process akin to hyper-dimensional Physics and into a simple, knowable tool.
Maybe this little screencast can help others make that connection too.