I feel – and understand – your frustration.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that many visitors to ExcelWithMonarch.com have arrived by using their favorite search engines to find the elusive Monarch training book. They search for “Monarch for dummies”, “Monarch book”, “Monarch training book”, “learn Monarch guide”, and other variations of the same intention.
They all learn the same sad fact, though: that book doesn’t exist. And therein lies an interesting a story…
Meet Mr. Bond
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Olly Bond, who you may have met as OllyinMunich on the Monarch Forums. He’s worked for Datawatch and for Datawatch customers, and now runs his consultancy www.greenbar.info. You might also have seen the “Invisible Data” webinar he presented for Datawatch on the advanced report functions of Monarch.
After having provided support to fellow Monarch users around the world on the Monarch Forums, at one point it became apparent to us that there were a large number of people who were looking for a book on Monarch. Many of the forum members complained that while they were interested in taking Monarch courses because they’d not yet had any formal training, they found it difficult to have their management approve of such expenditures. The most common reasons that we saw included the total costs of the training, and that they, the students, would be away from their work. They typically worked in a small group that couldn’t support such an absence, regardless of the future benefits.
Then there were those who wanted a reference book, and those who wanted to learn how to use the software on their own schedule.
It was apparent to us that there was a need for a Monarch book, and, after much discussion, we committed to developing it. We did everything that had to be done:
- We contracted a literary agent, who would help us navigate a business in which we beginners were unfamiliar.
- We prepared proposal documents for our book using the templates supplied by the major publishers.
- We had the commitment of Datawatch management at the time to assist with the project, should the publishers have wanted that involvement.
- We developed a detailed timeline and the initial chapters, all of which showed that we could deliver the book for the publishers.
With both of us having extensive experience with Monarch, and Olly’s experience with Datawatch’s Enterprise level solutions (all of which happen to use Monarch technology at their core) and my experience in developing automated solutions for Monarch, we believed that we’d be able to put together the definitive Monarch resource.
The project started off surprising well, and we quickly learned that our proposals had landed on the desks of representatives of several publishers who each were responsible for “pitching” book ideas to their respective review/approval committees. “Great, things are progressing nicely,” we thought.
But over the next weeks – it was shocking to learn how slowly these things move in some cases – our agent continued to inform us that the next publisher had opted to not proceed. The story was always the same: “The market’s too small.”
Who’s Protecting Whom?
Really? With well over 40,000 customers (including many Fortune 1000 companies) using Monarch software. Many of those customers have many users of the software, and you don’t think that enough users can use a good reference book? Well, again, we don’t have experience in your industry. Maybe you’re correct.
But it strikes me really funny that I can walk into most any bookstore and find volume after volume dedicated to very narrow market topics, and specific to computing, books on software that I’ve never even heard of, much less have ever used.
So what really happened? Of course we’ll never know for certain, but I do find it rather odd that the same publishers provide all kinds of books on the same general topic, that of Business Intelligence (and all things related), for applications sold by the big, long established BI tool providers.
Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue should a large number of people, people who just want to get on with their real jobs, learn how easy and inexpensive it is to get the information that they need? Surely there would be madness in the streets!
Alas, Olly and I realized that we weren’t going to win that first round of the fight. Subsequently, I convinced my partner that I still wanted to help the struggling Monarch modeler improve their skills, but without detracting from our still-not-yet-ruled-out Monarch book. That led to the “30 Days to Become a Better Monarch Modeler” training package, which is available until March 31st 2012 for only $47 USD, after which time the price returns to $97 USD.
What would YOU like?
While I’m pleased with the feedback that I’ve received from those who’ve purchased my training, I have heard from many who want more of a step-by-step approach. The question then becomes: what is the best way in which to deliver such material? What would YOU like to use? An eBook? A printed book? Maybe videos? Something similar to my recent YouTube channel post perhaps, only which would provide much more detail? Maybe something altogether different?
Drop me an email, or leave a comment below. There are many ways in which we can all learn to excel with Monarch!