Some time ago, a Dutch technology guru told me this sentence:
"Honestly, I'm surprised what the Manifold page says. What happens is that I've never seen it working on a machine "
This week, Patrick Webber - from Spatial Knowledge - has made a reckless statement that surely has shaken the same beards of the creators of this tool. Although they ... do not think they have a beard, but I bring it to reflection to follow up on my Predicted For any inquiries, We're here to answer you. Tions this year.
What is the Manifold Problem?
Patrick is based on the theory of Geoffrey A. Moore, in his book "Crossing the Abyss", Which raises the life cycle that happens in the adoption of computer products. One of those crucial stages is called Abismo (Chasm), where software requires constant growth while being received by buyers of early will, to avoid the risk of never reaching a representative segment of the market.
Patrick speaks clearly of the satisfaction that the innovative level of the creative company of Manifold, the price model and the collaboration of users in the forum. But he criticizes a very sensitive topic in the business format, because in that insistence of not having resellers or representatives more than on his own page, although it contributes to having a Acceptable price, It may be a funnel that is stopping growth.
To do this, it brings Manifold forum, where we show what we all suppose: People who have an 7x version find no reason to switch to the 8x and are waiting to see what happens with the 9x dream to decide whether to move or not. It can be total satisfaction, but if migrating represents only $ 50 per license, you should think about other drastic implications such as irreversible format change, because -as an example- you can not pass a .map from 8 version to 7 and it involves migrating all the existing licenses. Not to mention the built-up development or user manuals, which must have been elaborated because Manifold only offers the "help me"In his own way.
What could be happening, then, is that Manifold will still be that nice space rocket for the geofumados but it will never be attractive to ordinary users. They can be justified in the arguments they want -How sure are there- but scratching the nuts to ESRI requires more than having better software than ArcGIS -Which in many things is and many are-. You need to make community, have allies that also win, a geographical location in another language, support not based on tokens, including "technological evangelists" and ironically even piracy.
At no time is the software demerited, but all of us have once worked in normal companies, which in order to make a purchase require a human contact, from there a process of support, training and renewal of licenses (all paid of course). the same Bentley Systems it has its barrier to manage its sales in a regional manner, which works but delays transactions that, because they are not local currency, usually have an extra processing. That is not to say Manifold's case, that you should make the purchase online, with a credit card, starting with no average municipality and not all companies have one; and, for those of us who have lived it, we know that purchases by bank transfer have their level of complexity in conventional environments.
Ah! I forgot about the support. A Manifold license comes with two Tokens, for only two questions to the support. If you want more, pay for it; The idea is not bad, but you have to see if it is functional. It's not that there's Chinear To people, but the three words of invitation when buying the software are not enough: "Install - Launch - Learn ", Because it will be difficult to convince a boss that in the operational plan of the new year it is necessary to leave a budget for 15 Tokens Or pay the publisher of geofumadas for a chat support :).
In conclusion: Manifold is great software, but it is not growing. Although the 8 version already exists in torrents, a sign that it is becoming popular, very few people on the web are talking about their capabilities, except their satisfaction with the customer service model. If it continues like this, it will remain as a toy of an exclusive group of experts and will lose popularity as a practical solution for GIS -which is what it is-. And the final chapter of that kind of novel, we all know it.
What to expect
Well, on the one hand that Manifold's friends lower their arrogance. In particular, without demeriting the software that I find a wonder, that I use constantly and of which I have spoken up to the ears, I have seen answers to queries made in the forum that do not have the warmth of a vendor but a president of the Bolivarian Alliance what does it say "This is my government, here I am, and if you do not like it, change the channel".
With the apologies of course, for those who like that kind of treatment and who visit me from the countries of the southern cone. But if in the forum of Gabriel Ortiz -which is free- we have lost friends because of bad answers, not to say in a space where the creators of the software respond -which is not free-.
One day I questioned her Advertising department, Another su Business ethics, and today, I insist on what some say: A good technician, will not necessarily be a good manager, a good genius is back from being a bad businessman. There are specialties, and any technology guru that targets a software vendor will require a basic customer service course and that your marketer will give you primitive lessons of what does not come in the .NET API.
What will happen to Manifold? That, definitely depends on its creators. In my opinion, I think that Patrick's warning should have a positive echo.