Some time ago, a Dutch technology guru told me this sentence:
“Honestly, I'm amazed at what the Manifold page says. What happens is that I have never seen it in operation on a machine "
This week, Patrick Webber -of Spatial Knowledge- has made a reckless statement that has surely made the very beards of the creators of this tool tremble. Although they ... do not believe they have a beard, but I bring it to reflection to follow up on my Predicted — 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 outlines the life cycle that occurs in the adoption of computer products. One of those crucial stages is called Abyss (Chasm), where the software needs to sustain constant growth while being embraced by early-willed buyers, to avoid the risk of never reaching a representative segment of the market.
Patrick speaks clearly of how satisfied he is with the innovative level of Manifold's creator company, the pricing model, and the user collaboration on the forum. But it criticizes a quite delicate issue in the business format, because in that insistence of not having resellers or representatives other than on its 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, we would have to think about other drastic implications such as the irreversible format change, since -as an example- you cannot pass a .map from version 8 to 7 and it implies migrating all the existing licenses. What not to say about the built development or user manuals, which surely must have been elaborated because Manifold only offers the “help me"In his own way.
What could be happening, then, is that Manifold will continue to be that pretty rocket ship for geofumers but it can never have an appeal to ordinary users. They can justify themselves in whatever 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 build community, have allies who also win, a geographic location in another language, non-token-based support, including "tech evangelists" and ironically even piracy.
At no time is the software demerited, but all at one time we have worked in normal companies, which to make a purchase require a human contact, from there a process of support, training and license renewal (all paid of course). the same Bentley Systems It has its barrier for managing its sales regionally, which works but delays transactions that, because they are not local currency, usually have an extra procedure. The case of Manifold should not say, that the purchase must be made online, with a credit card, starting with the fact that no average municipality and not all companies have one; And, for those of us who have experienced it, we know that purchases via 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 support. If you want more, pay for it; the idea is not bad, but it is necessary to see if it is functional. It is not that 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 :).
Bottom line: Manifold is great software, but it's not growing. Although version 8 already exists in torrents, a sign that it is becoming popular, very few people on the web are talking about its capabilities, less about their satisfaction with the customer service model. If it continues like this, it will remain a toy for 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 type of novel, we all know it.
What to expect
Well, on the one hand Manifold's friends lower their arrogance. In particular, without demeaning the software that seems wonderful to me, that I use constantly and about which I have spoken up to my ears, I have seen responses to queries made in the forum that do not have the warmth of a salesperson but rather 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 apologies of course, for those who like that type of treatment and who visit me from the countries of the southern cone. But if in Gabriel Ortiz's forum –which is free- we have lost friends due to bad answers, what not to say in a space where the creators of the software –that is not free- respond.
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 just around the corner from being a lousy businessman. There are specialties, and any tech guru who becomes a software vendor is going to need a basic customer service course and primitive lessons from their marketer on what doesn't come in the .NET API.
What will happen to Manifold? That definitely depends on its creators. In my opinion, I think Patrick's warning should have a positive impact.