Subject: filtering for expensive customers?
From: Federico Lucifredi <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 12:10:18 -0500

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.



-- "'Problem' is a bleak word for challenge" - Richard Fish
(Federico L. Lucifredi) -