First of all, Mr. Michael Plant, whoever you are on these forums, thank you very much
for sending me the link to this forum, that was a great gesture, I appreciate it more than you can imagine.
What's been happening with GEMx is really unbelieveable. Not in a thousand years could I have imagined that out *of all the many, and I really do mean MANY* alternatives that they had, they actually chose to close down their forums the way they did.
I must admit that despite the fact that I've been using GEMX products for longer than I can probably remember, I'm not a particularly advanced user, and I don't really need the program to do much more than it already does.
Like many other users, before the gemx forum opened up, I'd been writing to Peter for months suggesting that he opened up a forum, so when it first opened, it was fantastic news.
I'm an experienced forum administrator (I've been running sites with Invisionboard ever since the product came out, and I do mean that literally) and although I didn't think SMF (simple machines forum, the forum software) was a good choice for GEMX, as months went by the forum became (at least to me) a truely wonderful place to visit. For the first time in many years, I had the opportunity to get a look at how some really talented people used GEMX in ways which I hadn't even imagined. It was like if I suddenly had the opportunity to take a quick look at how their minds worked, and it was impressive... I had so much to learn! Yes, it was a fountain of ideas and suggestions to help us improve the use of an already impressive product.
In all honesty -and this has to do with the fact that I mentioned earlier on, that I didn't particularly need new versions of the software- I found other users contributions to the forum a lot more important than staff replies.
Yes... a company's strength is its people, the people who work for it, of course, but also the customers, the people that are close to it. This is as basic a principle as you can get in any successful business.
GEMX had many alternatives, but chose the most absurd. Gemx could have announced that it could no longer put the man hours for the forum maintenance, but it would keep the forum open. In fact, this has actually happened with many, many companies (One that comes to mind is Qalcom's Eudora). Other users can provide support to newcomers, and the staff can simply answer - ocassionally, on weekends even - the most urgent posts. It's a self-fed system.
Moderation could be arranged to be performed by users.
A less friendly option (but one which is currently used by many companies) was to mindmap a strategy, somewhere along the lines of: we're gong to increase our database of forum users until we reach, say, 2000, and at that point we'll create 2 sections in the forum: the "free zone", available to all users and even guests, and a "premium users zone", where a staff member would be posting and answering on a regular basis. When buying GEMX products, you have the option of paying a little extra to access the premium users zone.
Ok, I know this option would not have been very popular amongst many users, but with a little extra money, perhaps GEMX could have afforded to pay someone else to do the job, or perhaps the current stuff members wouldn't have minded dong the extra hours for some extra money.
Another alternative was to offer someone else the possibility of hosting a support forum for GEMX, and leave the one at GEMX open until the change took place. Many people would have been interested, (maybe even myself!) because the group of people who use GEMX products represents a fountain of unimaginable wealth: ideas, willingness to support others, willingness to learn and willingness to share with others. God, GEMX, can't you see something so bloody obvious??. You can't destroy the bridges that allowed me to communicate with other outstanding minds, you had no right to destroy that, no, no way, you did not, because something so valuable simply doesn't belong to you, do you understand GEMX??? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAKE THAT AWAT FROM ME, YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US WITHOUT ANY WARNING WHATSOEVER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING???
Ok, I've said it.
I breath deeply now.
I'm not upset.
Nope I'm not.
My main worry with GEMX started when they announced the email module (I've never used it because my email needs are well covered with other software). I've been using Eudora for more than 10 years, and I knew that many people worked for Eudora, and Eudora had bugs, and Eudora was being developed continually, and the amazing people who created Eudora couldn't cope with all the work, because being a programmer or coder is really tough and complicated.
So, I was thinking somewhere along the lines of: if only one person is in charge of Do-organizer and the email module of do-organizer is simply one of the many that compose do-organizer, how can they (he????) possibly keep up to date with all the bugs and development? it's simply impossible! And my conclussion was that GEMX simply was not aware of what it had in its hands... and the following thought kept bouncing in my head: "you can never excell at too many things, concentrate on a few and keep improving them".
Add to that the forum maintenance... (forum users grew out of proportion in a very short period of time, something which perhaps gemx had not anticipated). What was about to happen was just a question of time, it was easy to see it coming.
However, despite these decissions (I'd call them "strategic mistakes, but that's just my opinion), what are we left with?
If we think coldly, perhaps things are not so bad. Version 3.09 is a little better than the previous one, so at least some progress is being made.
Like many of you, I've spent hundreds of hours searching and testing pim software. So far it works for me. Perhaps one day I'll change, but that day hasn't come yet.
As for forum support, hey, we use "do-organizer" and its "mind-planner". How about if we organize our oun "resistance"? can we take off again with renewed strenght? Can we create our own forum, a forum that will not close down no matter what, a forum where we can help each other and talk about Do-organizer and gemx products and even other pims? GTD? who knows?
By the way, many years ago, before I got to use GEMX products, I purchased "Winorganizer", a similar product which had similar development problems. Actually, they were much worse, a lot worse! and that's why I eventually gave up on them.
Anyway, whatever happens, let me just say that it is a great pleasure
to be able to talk to you guys again and, at least to me, that has no price!