Let your customers sell your software

Paul Everitt's Zope Dispatches blog today features a narrated screen video that demonstrates oXygen, Paul's weapon of choice for wrangling XML and XSLT. I invite everyone -- and in particular the marketing folks at SyncRO Soft, Ltd (oXygen's maker) -- to compare what's happening on the oXygen site with what's happening on Paul's blog.

The oXygen site has all the familiar paraphernalia: a features and benefits list, a customers list, a bunch of articles and documentation. Yawn. OK, I should look into that, someday...

Meanwhile Paul, who's "merely" a user of oXygen, shows me and tells me what the tool does, and why he values it. The customers that the oXygen site lists are just names and websites that otherwise mean nothing to me. Paul, on the other hand, is someone I know. And even if I didn't know him personally, I could get a sense of the guy by absorbing the identity he's projected into his blog over time. So his recommendation feels personal.

Reading his commentary on the screen video he made, I hear the voice of experience and the ring of truth:

FWIW, Komodo is a nice XML environment as well. It has the one feature I miss the most in oxygen, which is an XSLT debugger. This is just wildly useful in Komodo: set a breakpoint in an XSLT file, and watch as the result document is rendered, stepwise. Still, oxygen makes a nicer XML environment, as it is really geared towards XML semantics (such as enforcing the XSLT schema and learning structure).

The fact that Paul's assessment of oXygen includes a comparison with Komodo (and an implicit criticism oXygen) makes his final recommendation all the more credible. As does the fact that an oXygen user liked the product enough to spend time and effort demonstrating it to all interested parties on his blog.

Very, very cool. It reinforces my hunch that the combination of easy-to-create blogs and easy-to-create narrated screen videos could put users in charge of software marketing, education, and training.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/03/23.html#a951