UTOSC 2010 Day 2: Business Models for Open Source

Rounding out the day I attended David Richards' presentation about business models. The class was unfortunately a little small. I think the discussion could have been much better with a few more people to drum up conversation. He did a good job of covering the business perspective from start to finish. It's easy for a hacker like myself to look at a project that is fun, exciting, and important and overlook all the nitty gritty like how to acquire customers and make money. Obviously the latter is important in achieving the former. It's also never quite so cut and dried as many Free Software advocates presume. The case-study we attempted made it clear that working out the fine points is indeed quite a challenge.

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • confluence of having fun, doing it well, getting paid
  • too cheap to meter (marginal cost) - bandwidth, storage, processing power
  • scarcity - money, time, respect
  • often times it's a one-time shot
  • moving target
  • from $1 to $0 is a huge gap
  • "open source is the greatest endeavor" - linus (really?)
  • wikipedia vs traveling encyclopedia salesman
  • buying benefits, not features
  • 4 Steps To The Epiphany - book
  • customer discovery - want evangelists
  • customer validation - why are customers satisfied
  • customer acquisition - scale to huge numbers
  • company development - dotcom bubble did this first
  • getting started - high margin, low investment, foothold position
  • segment market into a matrix. who wants what.
  • customer lifetime value
  • avoid knee jerk reactions
  • why, when, what to open
  • google mapreduce
  • case study - Informant - document management system


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