Subject: Re: SMB Linux approaches?
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 17:36:12 -0800
Fri, 19 Mar 2004 17:36:12 -0800
on Fri, Mar 19, 2004 at 04:56:13PM -0800, DV Henkel-Wallace (
> On 19 Mar, 2004, at 16:02, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >I'm preparing materials for approaching SMBs for GNU/Linux-related
> >services.  ...
> >Interested in what others are doing in this space.  I'd also like to
> >know / share ideas on pitching GNU/Linux....
> >The [brochure] front is "What can Linux and Free Software do for
> >your Small /Medium-Sized Business".
> I would talk with some of your potential customers and show them the 
> brochure.  See how they feel about it.  They'll generally say "oh, that 
> looks good" but if you ask a few questions they may give you something 
> more insightful.
> The one thing that jumped out at me is "your Small /Medium-Sized 
> Business".
> I don't know how many people think of themselves as having a 
> "small/medium-sized business."  They have a dry cleaning store / nail 
> salon / insurance agency / restaurant / consignment store / steel shop 
> / nuclear-weapons-manufactory (OK, maybe not the last one).  If they 
> don't think the right way (or alternatively: think they fit in but 
> don't) you're not going to connect with the customer.
> This is one of the reasons there are so few products aimed at the SMB 
> sector: they're so hard to reach.

Point.  There's little found through Google other than through some MSFT
marketing initiatives.  The term strikes me as one which speaks more for
marketing blinders than being something the recipient would
self-identify with.

> Whom  are  you trying to address?

Literally:  walk ups in my geographic area (Napa, CA).  Businesses I can
walk into.  In my case, that's going to be small professional shops,
some area non-profits, wineries, etc.

After a long dry spell, I've landed a part-time gig that gives me
flexibility to work some additional business, while giving me both a
schedule and income which anchors me to the local area.

Preferably:  local businesses, rather than franchises / chains which
would have a centralized IT function.  Businesses whose IT needs are
current and on-site (read:  not offshoreable).  If I can land a couple
of ongoing support contracts, initially, it would be sufficient for
where I'd like to be and grow.  I'm also looking at raising awareness of
GNU/Linux in the area.  I know of other independents I might be able to
affiliate with for associated services.

The local business mix is a lot of ag (mostly wine), some healthcare,
real estate, newspapers, education, aviation, some industry, small
professional corporations (law, engineering, other services), retail
(both chain and local, mix of practical and boutique).  Within a
45 - 60 minute travel radius, a broader range of companies, still mostly

What I'd like to address are small servers, desktop migration, network
services, some data analysis (e.g.:  wine club membership management /
targeting), etc.

Sample brochure (work in progress):


Karsten M. Self <>
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
  Information is not power after all: Old-fashioned power is power. If you
  aren't big industry or government, you have very little power. Once they've
  hacked the electronic voting system, you'll have no power at all.
  - Robert X. Cringely

["application/pgp-signature" not shown]