Subject: Re: filtering for expensive customers?
From: "Chris Maeda" <cmaeda@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 14:32:47 -0500
Thu, 21 Dec 2006 14:32:47 -0500
You have essentially described the entire consulting business -- rent your
expertise to people that don't have it and don't have the time, money, or
desire to own it.

Which implication are you raising?  That F/OSS businesses have to cater to
customers that don't have F/OSS expertise (not a big surprise), or that lots
of companies can use their in-house resources for F/OSS projects and thus
won't need outside help (yet another reason why F/OSS is generally a crappy
business to be in)?

(And clueless engineers are the only people that think customers suck.)

On 12/21/06, Federico Lucifredi <flucifredi@acm.org> wrote:
>
> Hello All,
>    I have recently struck a reflection that I consider interesting:
>
>   Postulate: Market analysts tell us that the #1 competitor to F/OSS
> companies is internal expertise at the customer site: in short, if the
> local crew is smart and attuned with the state of the software they want
> to deploy, possibly even maintaining ties to the relevant part of the
> community, they will deploy and support said software themselves.
> Vendors might come in (much) later, and only because of a need to
> blame-shift in very large/critical deployments (or in the mind of a new
> director of IT operations ;-)
>
>   Given the premise above, it looks like more often than not F/OSS
> vendors are vying for the business of the customers who do *not* have
> sufficient on-site expertise - in other words, it looks like one might
> be selecting customers coming from the most clueless part of the pool!
>
>   Why is this an F/OSS concern? Well, we all know that, in general,
> engineers like to think that "customers suck", but this thinking pushes
> it to a new level: while in the proprietary market, all customers must
> purchase support from you, in our brave new world, only the less clueful
>   need to. Besides the inherent higher stress this places on the support
> crew, this is also expensive from a business perspective - the ideal
> support customers are, obviously, the ones who never need it.
>
>   Am I wondering about the obvious?  Perhaps I am being too pessimistic.
> But if you accept the postulate, the thesis seems to follow.
>
>   Best-F
>
> --
>
> _________________________________________
> -- "'Problem' is a bleak word for challenge" - Richard Fish
> (Federico L. Lucifredi) - http://www.lucifredi.com
>


You have essentially described the entire consulting business -- rent your expertise to people that don't have it and don't have the time, money, or desire to own it.

Which implication are you raising?  That F/OSS businesses have to cater to customers that don't have F/OSS expertise (not a big surprise), or that lots of companies can use their in-house resources for F/OSS projects and thus won't need outside help (yet another reason why F/OSS is generally a crappy business to be in)?

(And clueless engineers are the only people that think customers suck.)

On 12/21/06, Federico Lucifredi < flucifredi@acm.org> wrote:
Hello All,
   I have recently struck a reflection that I consider interesting:

  Postulate: Market analysts tell us that the #1 competitor to F/OSS
companies is internal expertise at the customer site: in short, if the
local crew is smart and attuned with the state of the software they want
to deploy, possibly even maintaining ties to the relevant part of the
community, they will deploy and support said software themselves.
Vendors might come in (much) later, and only because of a need to
blame-shift in very large/critical deployments (or in the mind of a new
director of IT operations ;-)

  Given the premise above, it looks like more often than not F/OSS
vendors are vying for the business of the customers who do *not* have
sufficient on-site expertise - in other words, it looks like one might
be selecting customers coming from the most clueless part of the pool!

  Why is this an F/OSS concern? Well, we all know that, in general,
engineers like to think that "customers suck", but this thinking pushes
it to a new level: while in the proprietary market, all customers must
purchase support from you, in our brave new world, only the less clueful
  need to. Besides the inherent higher stress this places on the support
crew, this is also expensive from a business perspective - the ideal
support customers are, obviously, the ones who never need it.

  Am I wondering about the obvious?  Perhaps I am being too pessimistic.
But if you accept the postulate, the thesis seems to follow.

  Best-F

--

_________________________________________
-- "'Problem' is a bleak word for challenge" - Richard Fish
(Federico L. Lucifredi) - http://www.lucifredi.com