Subject: Re: GPL and trademarks and brandnames...
From: Bob Young <bob@redhat.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 12:47:02 -0500

> "Russell" == Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com> writes:
> 
> Russell> You can't wish away transaction costs.
> 
> It seems to me that (willful) ignorance of transaction costs is a
> large part of the mindset of the most ardent free software advocates.

The problem that I most often run into is an ignorance of marketing 
principles.

Issues like the inefficiencies of markets.  The lack of complete 
knowledge that all of us suffer from when buying anything.

The good marketing organizations understand these issues and use them 
effectively to their (and their shareholders) advantage.  Sometimes 
at the expense of their customers.  But all those corporations we 
most admire deliver real value for the money they charge.  They are 
successful corporations because they both build good technology -and- 
they market it well. 

The most common question I get asked is "how do you make money 
selling free software?"  The problem with the question is that it 
implies that it is easy (or at least easier) to make money selling 
proprietary software.  But that's a false assumption.  Just ask any 
of the hundreds of thousands of managers of failed proprietary 
software ventures.

So if you want to make money selling Free Software, you have to do 
what any successful company does.  You have to build a better product 
or service, -and- you have to figure out how to market it better than 
your competitors do.

Another book to take a look at is "Built To Last" (I don't recall the 
authors names but its on all the business book best seller lists).  
I'm not sure about all the conclusions the authors reach, but as an 
analysis of the companies who best represent long-term success it has 
a bunch of valuable lessons on both the better product and better 
marketing subjects.

Cheers,    Bob.






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