Subject: Re: Question: how to run a compiler business
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: 11 Feb 2002 20:06:56 +0900

>>>>> "Marty" == Marty Landman <> writes:

    Marty> As near as I can tell we need to become professional
    Marty> marketers for our products.

Not quite.  You do need to acquire professional marketing capability
in the broad, strategic sense.  You can

  o do it yourself, which can be hard;

  o buy it with money, difficult if you don't have it;

  o give up some control to an existing FSB, if you can find a related
    one and convince one; or

  o give up (some) control to a VC, if you can convince one.

But by the nature of the VC business, they only expect you to be an
amateur marketer convince them specifically, you don't need to be a
professional already.  There are probably other options, too.

Specific suggestions for free and low-cost marketing if you decide to
do it yourselves:

  o Visit web sites of similar FSBs and even not-so-FSBs to see how
    they present themselves.  For compiler, maybe sleepycat or Red
    Hat's Cygnus group; for web content management, Zope.  Remember
    you can't manage that scale yet; look for aspect that do scale
    down to your current status.

  o Do web searches on them, and see where they get mentioned.  You
    probably want to be mentioned there, too.

  o Consider whether you can go slow with a SourceForge project and
    regular listings on FreshMeat et al, and build a business as your
    user population rises, or whether you want to jump in with both
    feet, mortgage your house etc to buy a full-page ad in Dr. Dobb's.

  o Speaking of Dr. Dobb's, a lot of articles in there (and in some of
    the Linux mags) are thinly veiled ads for a product.  In the Linux
    mags you should be very obviously free software (the SourceForge
    project helps, here).  How about writing a bunch of articles for
    them?  They're always looking for content, they may not take
    yours, but then again, they might.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
              Don't ask how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.