Subject: Re: filtering for expensive customers?
From: Federico Lucifredi <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 15:21:02 -0500

La Monte Henry Piggy Yarroll wrote:
> I might contest the premise that only the most clueless seek 
> professional help. I have two anecdotal counter-examples.

If the postulate does not hold, then the thesis does not either. But the 
market research I am reading tells me is that the postulate is true.

> The best salesman for open source service businesses is in-house expertise.

No doubt. But when the in-house experts decide to do it by themselves, 
you are not getting revenue from them (until perhaps later, when they or 
their bosses want to dump responsibility as I mentioned, or they learn 
how hard it is and want someone else to, as you did mention.


>>  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.
> Customers who never need your support don't generally renew. The ideal 
> customer from a business perspective puts less load on your support 
> staff than their subscription covers.
> In an open source market, the customer is often looking at the same 
> source you are looking at. I can't tell you how fabulous this is from 
> the perspective of the support crew.
>>  Am I wondering about the obvious?  Perhaps I am being too 
>> pessimistic. But if you accept the postulate, the thesis seems to follow.
> My empirical experience is that the most clueful customers I've ever had 
> were those paying for open source support. This suggests that there is 
> some defect in either the postulate or the thesis...


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