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May 2001

Share success, and score powerful goals

NewsWire Editorial

In a season of sunshine and riotous green, I am thinking of ice. It’s not a diversion from the blistering weather of Texas. That remains more than a month away, thankfully. No, my awareness of ice comes from my son Nick, who visited me last month just as the National Hockey League began its playoffs, the Quest for the Stanley Cup. Nick’s focus on a chilly sport made me aware of the power knowledge carries, and how sharing it can bring bounty for 3000 users.

Nick cares about hockey this year in a way that sparks my own boyhood memories. He’s no boy now, having made a place for himself in Buffalo at 18 and braved the worst winter in 25 years up there. His job with Americorps had him patrolling those snowy streets for hours each day. It’s no wonder he developed an interest in hockey.

He’s serving his volunteer time on the eastern end of the same Great Lake where I grew up, Lake Erie. He brought a passion for the sport back with him to the Texas spring, a season which can pass for summer in places like the Great Lakes. I hadn’t heard anybody reel off point totals, passing percentages and hockey line shifts like Nick since I followed the sport up there as a boy. I spent many nights lying in front of the radio, twiddling the dials to catch WBZ in Boston, hoping for a whisper of the breathless play-by-play of my Bruins. In an era before multiple sports networks and the Internet, the effort of following a distant AM broadcast proved my mettle as a fan.

Back here in Texas, Nick proved his mettle by watching a full game, plus a full overtime period, that I had taped for him while he was out with his girl. It must have been 3 AM when he saw his Dallas Stars win on a goal scored just as time was running out in sudden death.

That my son remains a fan of a Texas hockey team while he lives in Buffalo is a mark of his confidence. To be a Stars fan in Buffalo is something like being an e3000 manager inside Sun Microsystems. A few years back the Buffalo Sabres played Dallas for the Stanley Cup finals, and lost. The loss was debated more than Florida election results, because Dallas beat Buffalo with a goal scored by a player standing in the crease — a big no-no in hockey, but missed by the refs. To this day, Sabres fans wear shirts around the city that say, “No Goal!”

Nick wears a Dallas Stars jersey. He knows who he is, even in a blizzard of passion for an opposing view. His tenacity reminds me of your passion for your platform, especially among those of you who wear shirts proclaiming its praise.

That passion poured out of him in a wonderful day we spent together, while the Stars played on TV and we watched every minute of it sitting on Abby’s purple leather sofa. There’s something about watching the dreams of your offspring that drives us to look closer, especially at things complex and foreign. Hockey has changed plenty in the 25 years since I last gave it serious notice: helmets are mandatory, teams now track tons of statistics never before noted, and dazzling checks draw the cheers instead of fist-fights.

Nick stayed at my house for most of a week, and so the brimming slate of first-round games was not far from our minds or talk while he visited. I missed him fiercely when he returned to his Buffalo posting, and so found myself tuning in Buffalo and Dallas games even while he was far away. I imagined we were watching the same check, pass or save, and it brought me a little closer to the lad I love.

And so while watching a Buffalo game I found a practice that felt familiar instead of foreign. I recognized it from HP 3000 owners, along with an inverse practice of managers who run 3000 IT departments. Knowledge is powerful when withheld, but more powerful when shared.

See, the Sabres second-round opponent was Pittsburgh, and the Penguins’ star got hurt in the first game. The commentators noted that nobody could find out anything about how hurt that star really was. In fact, they said the hockey league has a rule which permits teams to withhold all information about injuries during the playoffs. Several teams have kept opponents guessing about when an injured star might return.

It sounded like the kind of practice I see from the most powerful of e3000 owners: major companies who say little about their IT success. Like State Farm or 3M, General Electric, insurance giant AIG, or Hertz. You hear little from them, even though us reporters keep trying to get their stories. What they know about success, involving HP 3000s, is the source of their power.

This is the kind of belief that keeps your computer one of the best kept secrets in the industry. It’s frustrating to the press, and probably the 3000 division’s marketing types. But the right to secrecy is just as ironclad as any Stanley Cup tradition. I just wonder how essential it is in our more-connected world.

The inverse practice might be steeped in pride, but its real root is generosity. Some IT managers share how much the 3000 has meant to their companies’ success as easy as the ice goes soft in Dallas in the spring. They seem to know that knowledge has a return power when it’s shared. People approach you with their stories when you share what’s at your heart. I have seen it happen at user group conferences, and in messages when I’ve opened my heart here about family, passion and dreams. You get what you give, and a little more, if you’re keeping close account.

If you have a chance to spread some knowledge of your platform’s success, it looks to me like a good strategy. Secrets have their place, but I’m betting on the power of sharing more often these days. As our community’s climate heats up through the release of new systems and software, you’ll find your chance to thaw out stories of success. Sharing what works may keep your Cup filled through every season, even those with cooler weather.

— Ron Seybold 


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