developerWorks: This is a developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham, here with Gina Poole, Vice President, IBM® Software Group Marketing 2.0. If developerWorks had a mom, we'd like to say it was certainly Gina Poole. Gina along with Dirk Nicol launched developerWorks in 1999 and she joins us to share a few thoughts on the 10th anniversary of developerWorks. Hi, Gina.
Poole: Hey, Scott.
developerWorks: Great to have you here today. I wonder if you could talk a bit about the thinking that was going on when the decision was made that IBM needed to launch developerWorks. What was that like?
Poole: Sure, I'd love to. Well, developers are such critical influencers for really any software company and at IBM we really wanted to build strong relationships with developers around open standards based technologies and of course, the IBM offerings that were built on those.
So, our approach was that we really wanted to engage developers with the kind of resources that they valued, you know, the kind of resources that would help them build their skills and provide lots of great how-to material created by developers, for developers.
So, Dirk and I came up with the model and built the team to do that and I'm really pleased to see the outstanding success that developerWorks has had over the past 10 years.
developerWorks: We had a conversation Dirk as well about all of this so I encourage people to check out that podcast.
developerWorks: Now, I'm wondering, how has it lived up to that promise in your mind? I mean, we certainly like to talk about the growth and all the viewers and readers that we have and participants, but how has it impacted IBM's goals and you know, the software community at large, in your mind?
Poole: Yes, I think developerWorks has had a major impact in three key areas:
- First, I think we definitely succeeded in building a mutually beneficial developer community. Now it's close to six million strong and, you know, both the developers as well as IBM is getting a lot of benefit out of that interaction.
- Second, the influence this community has has really helped support the significant growth of IBM's software business. IBM's software business is now kind of the core engine of IBM's growth and profit and I think developerWorks played a real important role in that because by building that great community of influential developers, they're out there around the world kind of sharing their positive feelings around IBM offerings and open-standards-based technologies that they're built on.
- developerWorks, I think, also played a really important supporting role in, just in general, in driving open-standards-based computing as well as emerging technologies in the industry. You know, by providing a lot of great resources, not just around IBM offerings, but really focusing on those key open standards based technologies over the past 10 years. If you think of things like Java™ and XML and Linux®.
Poole: I think developerWorks played a really important role there.
developerWorks: So, how do you see it evolving now? I mean, there's so much talk about the way that Web-use patterns are changing with more on-the-fly publishing, blogs and the huge phenomenon of social networking which you're certainly involved in with IBM. But good content still an important underpinning for all of that, right?
Poole: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is such an exciting time to be in the digital space because there's so much going on. Back when we started developerWorks it really was more a kind of a resource site with a lot of great content on it, and you hit the nail on the head — content is king. If you have great content that appeals to the audience that you want to come to your site you'll be a success.
You can't push the kind of content out that you want; this isn't about marketing to developers, it's about engaging them.
And what's so exciting about the Web 2.0 capabilities and social medium, social software is now it can become much more interactive. We've got a lot of great community activity going on now on developerWorks. So, it really is hitting that vision of by developers, for developers.
We continue to provide some of the best content, you know, from our own developers and writers, but now we can really engage that whole community of six million strong to share their content and their best practices with the rest of the community. So, I think it makes it much more powerful.
developerWorks: Now, what about the broader role of software and software development in supporting this drive to A Smarter Planet that IBM's talking about a lot? And I know you guys are talking about that a lot.
Poole: Oh, yes. And I think developerWorks plays a key role there as well. And if you think of A Smarter Planet there's kind of three key elements. One is, the world's becoming increasingly interconnected, so, there's like a trillion networked things out there. And, increasingly instrumented and the data says that, you know, by 2010 there will be like a billion transistors per human being.
And then finally, it's becoming a lot more intelligent. So, if you think about how algorithms and powerful systems can analyze all these mountains of data into decisions and actions that can make business and (to be honest) the planet, work better and smarter.
And the exciting thing for developers is that they are in a real sweet spot to make that whole A Smarter Planet vision a reality. And developerWorks is going to be a great resource to help them do that.
developerWorks: Gina Poole, Vice President, IBM Software Group Marketing 2.0. Thanks so much, Gina.
Poole: Thanks, Scott.
developerWorks: Be sure and look for our other podcasts this week on developerWorks's 10th anniversary. developerWorks is IBM's premier technical resource for software developers with tools, code, and education on IBM products and open standards technology. I'm Scott Laningham, talk to you next time.
Scott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.