How Not to Confuse Your Open Source Community with Your Customers

Business Leadership Day
Location: F 151 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.75, 4 ratings)

Before we had Internet-sized bandwidth on which to collaborate around software, traditional software business was a simple pipeline. R&D delivered product into the pipe. Marketing delivered messages. Sales and marketing managed and qualified leads through the pipeline and if the product solved a customer problem properly, a market was made and you could measure the profits.

With the rise of the Internet collaborative development communities formed around FOSS licenses. Many have tried to create businesses around such communities, or conversely create their own communities as an adjunct to their business. But in the ensuing confusion of customers and community no one is ever happy.

This talk offers insight into how to think about both groups differently to everyone’s benefit.

Photo of Stephen Walli

Stephen Walli

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Stephen is currently the technical director of the Outercurve Foundation. Prior to that he consulted on software business development and open source strategy. His customers include Microsoft, the Eclipse Foundation, the Linux Foundation. He’s an adviser to Ohloh, Bitrock, Continuent, and eBox.

Stephen was VP Open Source Development Strategy at Optaros, a business manager at Microsoft on open source, and VP R+D and founder at Softway Systems, a venture-backed company that developed a UNIX portability environment for NT before being acquired by Microsoft. He was a long time participant and officer at the IEEE and ISO POSIX standards groups, representing both USENIX and EurOpen (E.U.U.G.) and a regular speaker and writer on open systems standards since 1991.

Stephen has an essay in O’Reilly’s “Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution”. Stephen blogs about software business, standards and open source at Once More unto the Breach.

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Picture of Stephen Walli
Stephen Walli
07/22/2012 11:32pm PDT

All: Sorry my slides weren’t posted during OSCON. You can find them on SlideShare

Picture of Shane Curcuru
Shane Curcuru
07/20/2012 10:45am PDT

Did you have slides? I’d love to continue the conversation behind this session and my Managing Community Open Source Brands I did on Thursday!

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Shane Curcuru
07/17/2012 2:27am PDT

Please, biz-folk: pay attention to this talk. Respecting the external communities that build the various “hot” open source projects that your company relies on is critical. This is a place where for-profit corporations can really shine – if you do it right. Work with the open source community as a partner – not a competitor. This is especially critical for branding: you need to have your own corporate brand, not just co-opt the community’s brand. It is possible for both you to make a profit and the open source community to make a technical reputation at the same time.


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