Subject: Outside U.S. versus inside U.S.
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 16:26:13 +0900

>>>>> "Taran" == Taran Rampersad <> writes:

    Taran> Phil Hughes wrote:

    >> Now that I have been outside the US for over a year I feel I
    >> have a better grip on reality.

    Taran> Yes, under similar circumstances in Trinidad and Tobago, I
    Taran> am seeing that myself.

Spend a year in Japan and then say those things.  I think what you
have a grip on is not reality in general, merely the particular
reality of relative poverty.

The particular reality of relative affluence is that it pays to throw
money at the majority of your problems, as long as you're reasonably
good at picking out the problems where that just won't do.

The task of "Northern" FSBs is to convince relatively affluent
customers that it would be a good idea to throw that money in their
direction.  We have the solutions and they're as good as the
competition's; this is no longer a technical problem (if it ever was).
It is a marketing problem, and marketing is the way to solve it.

That's why Microsoft is what it is.  The (IMHO) criminal behavior made
it more so, but the fundamental strength of Microsoft has always been
that Bill Gates and his lieutenants grok the markets.  (Remember that
"to grok" means "to love," "to hate," and "to understand" all rolled
into one!)

This is quite a different problem from that faced by "Southern" FSBs
and FLOSS advocates.  Their customers are nowhere near so affluent, and
do not generally have the alternative of outsourcing at only twice the
direct cost of doing it in-house.

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