Subject: Re: [coallesced replies] Re: how to create 21,780 new free software jobs (2,530 in R&D)
From: Tom Lord <>
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 11:25:20 -0800 (PST)

       Find a Linux and/or BSD friendly ISP in the Bay area.  Offer
       them a percentage of each customer that signs up in return for
       them providing the customer list, hosting space for the
       servers, and customer billing services.

I sort of agree -- I can't go it alone though.  

I like the very practical suggestion of obtaining customer lists and
billing services that way.  Thank you: good hack!  On the other hand, in my
experience, those ISPs that are accessible to people outside the
executive class also tend to be extremely risk averse.  Unfortunately,
this doesn't seem to be to be quite as straightforward as getting a
product on the shelf of your favorite convenience store.

Also, there's some initial-outlay problems your plan doesn't solve.
For example, the problem of maintaining a distribution.  Also, I'm a
bit finicky about quality: I think it's a good idea to really tune the
OS, apps, and tutorials for the particular vagaries of a global file
system environment.

Mostly, though -- as always -- my goal in using the FSB hub involves
pretending(?) its a forum linking our various corporate friends to the
general public.  I think those corporate friends _should_ be qualified
to think this proposal through on first principles and I'm confident
that, if they do, they'll act on it.  I think a big selling point
(especially for _new_ customers) is going to be integration of the
plan with entertainment content, for example.

In short, I think this works best with a mixture of individual
entrepreneurialism and agressive corporate action.  This isn't a
chocolate chip cookie stand I'm suggesting.

	  Now market your service to their customer list.  Bootstrap
	  the business this way.  Initially you are the only support
	  staff, but you can grow and add people as more customers
	  sign up.

There's the rub.  Chicken-and-egg.  This isn't quite an off-the-shelf
plan.  It actually needs a little (gasp!) R&D investment up front, as
far as I can see.  It's entirely possible that some energetic hacker
will spot a short-cut that I've overlooked -- but I think there's a
role here for the various vendors.

	you are likely to find an ISP that is Linux friendly and
	potentially willing to gamble on your idea.

Interesting.  Care to make any off-list introductions?  Especially to
ISPs run by savvy engineers?  At the very least, I think a grass-roots
expression of interest might help make a more credible approach for
corporate R&D.

"Measure twice",
- "famous amos" t