Subject: Re: SMB Linux approaches?
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 21:05:33 -0800
Sun, 21 Mar 2004 21:05:33 -0800
on Sun, Mar 21, 2004 at 12:16:13PM -0500, Chris Maeda ( wrote:
> Right now your approach sounds too broad, 

There's approach and there's specific pitch.  What I'm shooting for is
specific on-site / near site issues which:

  - Cause real business pain.

  - Are addressable with GNU/Linux / Free Software technologies, or
    proprietary apps running on same.

  - Aren't highly offshoreable.  Anchoring yourself in the here and now
    can be useful.

> and most of the information in your brochure is not going to be
> interesting to non-geeks.  

I'm working on the presentation there.  Note too that any pitch fitting
on two sheets of an 8.5x11 will be pretty topical and general.  Anyone
making a pitch has the same issue.  What's key is covering the basics,
sketching the possibilities, and making it pertinant.

> Business owners care about solving their business problems; the
> hardware and OS are irrelevant.  What software are you going to give
> them in addition to linux?
> I would find segments of this business community that have pain and
> budgets, and figure out how to solve their problems using a
> linux-based solution.  For example, use some open source CRM package
> to address wine clubs, health club memberships, or real estate
> customer databases; or some low cost document management solution for
> law offices.

Most of the wineries in the area fall into three camps:

  - Meganational conglomerates.  You may not be familiar with the name
    "Diagio", but Universal-Vivendi may ring some bells.  The Fosters
    group ("*NOT* Australian for 'beer'" as my Oz friends tell me) owns
    several others.  I've got a list of recent ownership relations.
    Most of these have their own in-house or outsourced solutions.

  - Independents with in-house or outsourced solutions.

  - A mix of outfits with outsourced web hosting through which they've
    got wine club type features.

  - A handful too small or disorganized to get anything together.  It's
    a pretty non-technical market, for the most part.  Though they
    generally  do  recognize the benefits of Internet advertizing --
    pretty much all the hospitality / travel / tourism industry has
    picked this up.

Wine club systems are a relatively large undertaking, aren't turnkey,
and require integration with existing systems (website, tracking).
Thorny stuff.  At the very least, one person with specific experience
full time for a while.  Shop I left had three working on this and
related stuff.  Frankly, the problem fits them better than it does me.

OTOH, running stats over the club, purchases, and targeting pitches
(working with the data & generating lists / campaign strategies) fits my
own abilities and background better.

> You may also find your biggest objection is the fact that QuickBooks
> doesn't run on Linux.

I find Andrew Grygus's AAXNet site a valuable resource.  On accounting
systems specifically:

    Management Accounting

...particularly the "Software Complications" section.

In general:


Karsten M. Self <>
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    It's too late to shut the stable-door after the horse has bolted.

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