Subject: Re: FSB economics/industry research suggestions requested
From: Rich Bodo <>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003 20:53:29 -0800 (PST)


Just some ideas:

	I suspect the OSS-PC market has done far more for the
economies of the US and Europe than that of Japan.  In Japan, how many
businesses have started out using Linux or BSD or similar and
commodity PCs as the core of their product offering?  How do small
businesses in Japan compare with OSS-PC busineses in the US w.r.t
acceptance and survivability?

	I think OSS is making the PC an even better product platform
than it used to be for small businesses.  I have lots of friends with
small businesses, and most of them use the OSS-PC combination to drive
their products.  It's great: start with a simple, low cost of entry
platform that is supremely flexible.  Applicable to all sorts of
niches.  Choose one.  Attack.
	OSS-PC businesses diversify more often and more rapidly than
other businesses.  OSS-PC expertise translates into a broad range of
businesses.  It's hard to focus when there is so much opportunity out
there, so most of these little businesses don't.  Even if they are one
or two people!  An OSS-PC business might start out building firewalls,
move into fax servers, start a new company to sell white boxes, a
small consulting arm to VPN's, or an ASP service.  Some people can
handle this, and the diversity keeps them alive.  The ones that hit on
something survive and grow big.

	So, I think these little businesses are great, and they do
great things and are good for economies, but of course I don't know
that.  I also think the best market for this kind of business is one

Strong DIY culture.
Strong technical/science education.
Poor access to capital.


On Sat, 6 Dec 2003, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> The University, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to drop about $5000
> in "research funds" on me.  I _could_ of course use it to buy 50 or
> so SD cards for my Zaurus, but I'd rather make some students a little
> richer and gather some useful information.
> Unfortunately, the fund evaporates at the end of February.  It's not
> practical to do a survey in that time frame (I can't use it for travel
> expenses, anyway).  So ...
> Any suggestions that involve gathering data from publically available
> sources, such as magazines, newpapers, or the Web, especially pointers
> to studies done on the North American or European industries that
> could be replicated for Japan, would get high priority.
> I can probably get reasonable English-speaking or Chinese-speaking
> research assistance, too, so don't limit yourself to Japanese sources.
> It's just that most of my current crew are monolingual in Japanese,
> and there's the time limit problem, so Japan gets priority.
> While for obvious reasons I can't do pure market research for a
> particular product, please don't let your self-interest keep you from
> making a suggestion.  In particular, if there's a legal way to figure
> out market penetration for your product type for various segments of
> the web, I'd be really interested in hearing about the technology.
> We're putting `lynx -head' to use already, simple is good.[1]
> Please reply to me <>.  If I do turn up some
> interesting data or results, I will provide an URL and (if
> appropriate) a brief summary to the list.
> Steve
> Footnotes: 
> [1]  Yes, it would be cheaper to write a 'bot, but cheap is bad.
> Anyway, I want them to see it with their own eyes.  Educational.

Rich Bodo | | 650-964-4678