My favorite cartoonist wrote something that started me thinking...

“All products are conversations.”

I suppose that, in terms of product support, this is self-evident.  Every product we ship results in a conversation with support.

The exciting thing is that, for me, these conversations have changed drastically over the years.  When I started, most of the conversations I had were of the “Why can't I get X to work?” category.  These conversations are self-contained, and can be frustrating.  In the context of this metaphor, these were very impersonal conversations.

These days, the conversations I have are different.  They are usually focused on how our technologies can be used to support & extend the business of the folks I'm talking to.  The technologies are building blocks for my customers, and they use them to build anything they can imagine & spec.  Instead of impersonal conversations about self-contained issues, these conversations are partnerships (which, I see, I'm not the only person thinking about...).