Lotus knows… the Power of One

Or perhaps the title of this post should be "Lotus should know". The story below is inspired by several suggestions at the Lotus Knows IdeaJam, including this one.

Thisis a true story of how one person in 6 months got a whole department to change from one word processor to another, without even involving the IT department.

In early 1993, I started working as a journalist at Computer Sweden, the Swedish edition of ComputerWorld. I had previously worked at Microsoft (in 1988-1990), and then I worked as a programmer for 2 years. At that workplace we used Microsoft Word and Excel. So I was very used to Word.

At Computer Sweden, they used WordPerfect 5.1 (if I recall correctly). When writing, they used special markup for QuarkXPress, to set headlines, body text, etc. I did not like WordPerfect, and was not used to it, so I loaded Word on my computer and started working. After a few weeks I decided to make life easier by developing a Normal.dot template so I could format the text in a WYSIWYG way, and then have a macro to create the QuarkXPress markup when I was done. I also added code to copy the resulting file to tne network share where the editors could get to it.

Some other users saw it, got Word installed and started using my macro. Within 6 months of me starting, the editor-in-chief demanded that everyone switched to Word and used my macro. WordPerfect was out from that magazine. Soon other magazines followed, and several started using the same macro. Later I modified it to generate HTML, upload the resulting file to teh web server and edit the homepage to include a link to the new story.

Not one dollar spent in sales calls/visits, direct marketing or anything from Microsoft, just one user showing how a different tool could do things faster and better. I am sure a similar macro and template could have been done in WordPerfect. But I knew Word, soI built it there.

Imagine tech-savy students coming out in the workplaces, loading their computers with "Lotus Notes Personal Edition", "Domino Designer Personal Edition" and connecting to a public demo server provided by IBM, and then develop some useful and good looking applications for their new employer in a day or two…Web-enabled and/or Notes client access in one easy-to-use environment.


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