Subject: Re: Thanks to all so far (was Re: Size of Lisp market)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 19:26:24 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Frank A. Adrian
| Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.  Although no one has given me 
| actual figures, I have a couple new arguments for the guy I'm talking to.

  You have an interesting problem, but I think it is necessary to point out
  that the number of people who use Common Lisp is much smaller than the number
  of people who _would_ use Common Lisp if given half a chance.  Just like you,
  they are the _unrealized_ market of Common Lisp.  Very often, the realized
  market is taken as a measure of the unrealized market, but this is what
  marketing is all about.  When you ask about the realized market, you will
  unfortunately be somewhat disappointed, but think of how many people are in
  your own position, struggling to find some reason to convince somebody to
  (let them) use Common Lisp.  In other words, what might happen if you start
  to use Common Lisp is that your local Common Lisp market grows very quickly.
  (This happened in Oslo.)  You will most probably find good programmers and
  more people who are willing to employ them, too, if you can just convince the
  first one that the water is really not that cold, despite what it feels like
  to the toe-dippers.  Being the first one (locally) out is always difficult.
  Your manager would probably not care about any "market size" if people he
  knew (about) were already using it.

| My take on Lisp is that it is a very good tool for doing things that nobody
| knows how to do yet and for doing things quickly and that this is still a
| very viable market niche for small entrepeneurs.  Once you get to a point
| where you do know how to do these things or are established in the
| marketplace, most managements (or your competitors) are ready to transition
| the newly found knowledge into a slower velocity but more efficient (and,
| seemingly, less risky) environment.

  I concur.  This will keep Common Lisp alive for the foreseeable future, but
  the realization that Common Lisp can help solve a problem has to be founded
  on experience from _not_ solving similar problems in other languages.  This
  is sometimes a very expensive experience to acquire.  Some people will not
  give you a second chance once you have realized that you could not solve the
  problem you set out to solve, even though you probably know how to solve it
  after you failed to solve it in time.

| This doesn't mean that there won't be new niches, but, like the language
| itself, Lisp's areas of application will always be quite dynamic and its
| world will always be in the juncture between creation and destruction.

  Well put.
  Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be
  specific and do not put "business proposal" in the Subject header.  If it is
  urgent, do not use the word "urgent".  If you need an immediate answer, give
  me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention".  Thank you.