Date: May 22, 2013 2:18 AM
Author: mathgroup
Subject: Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

I want to comment on my experience , limited of course, with  students of
Engineering, Engineers and Professors of Engineering.....my background is
Physics...

First, I get the impression that , in the main, Symbolic Computation, etc.
is not something they are really interested in......After I retired, I took
several courses in Electromagnetics, one Graduate and the other
Undergraduate......No one suggested the use of or taught the potential
applications of Mathematica....Even in the Graduate course, I was the only
student using Symbolic software ......in fact, the students did everything
by hand and whenever something required software, such as Antenna patterns,
out came M-------b with some code , etc....and that was the end of it....So,
the students knew no better....and the Professors didn’t care or werent
interested themselves in the benefits of learning and solving problems
Symbolically....I asked one Professor if I could give a class lecture on the
use of Mathematica for Electromagnetics...He agreed but than said 'I can
only give you about ten minutes'....I respectfully declined the offer....

So, how does WRI expand its market?....IMO, there have to be dedicated
Teachers on how to use Mathematica in what I'll call the Research Mode not
just define given functions from the text and plot it.......from what I have
seen of the attitude of Instructors and Professors I'm anything but
Optimistic....I went to our local Colleges and suggested a sequence of
courses in Mathematica ending with Animation and Simulation....That got me
nowhere especially with the Math Depts...so, in part, I see people who are
stuck in pencil and paper and refuse to get out of it....

Again, of course, this is my limited experience...Perhaps others have had
different and better ones...

Jerry Blimbaum



-----Original Message-----
From: paulmchale7@gmail.com
Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2013 4:50 AM
Subject: Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

I have (maybe) a minority perspective on Mathematica being an engineer. I
used it long ago at university at version 1. The next time I would use it
would be a wolfram approved ebay purchase of version 4. I have used it ever
since, but am still rookie in some ways.

I believe WRI is attempting to broaden the user base rather than deepen the
product. They are doing this by adding (from our perspective) non-value add
features to lure people in. The argument is the learning curve is less
which should lead to greater sales. This is not how it works at any place I
have been.

The only engineering sales force that matters is engineers. If they can't
argue for the product, it will not happen. Engineers can't argue for
something they are unable use until after purchase and additional training.
If you want engineers to demonstrate something or argue for it, you have to
do more than offer wizards and connections to WolframAlpha which only apply
after the sale. Engineers need to show understanding and capability.
Managers have to show accounting they are saving money by buying
Mathematica. Improvements in quality of OUR products or ability to address
greater problems is not quantifiable to the brigade of MBAs who run modern
businesses. There has to be quantifiable savings. This has to be
demonstrated by engineering staff before purchase and framed in terms of
reduced need for time (salary expense).

I think this can only be achieved by making the online education material
targeted to a specific audience. This material must solve real problems in
a way that conveys the underlying capability.

I have been told by WRI that most users will only use 5% (at most) of
Mathematicas total ability. LoL, if only everyone would use the same 5%.

If you want us to be able to sell it, you have to provide training for free
so we can get started solving engineering problems prior to purchase.
Combine this with a 60 day trial and you could save a lot of WRI development
dollars on bells and whistles that won't increase sales. Help us help you!
Stop trying to treat sales tools as a profit center!