How to build an open-source, successful business? - 5 tips.
Published on 02/27/09 at 20:41:59 by On
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EditorialsThe open-source technologies are recently getting more attention; this is due to the worldwide financial crisis exposing companies to budget pressure.  After all, if you have to chose between buying $200,000 server licenses or having staff to develop and deploy applications, more people would be willing to try open source alternatives. It is not a great surprise that downloads of open source software are growing at an accelerated rate. There's now top-down pressure to develop an open source strategy in even the most conservative and mainstream companies. It seems like no one is immune to the recent economic downturns and developments.

1. Community: the community is one of then most important constituencies, others important key players are employees, paying customers, and investors.
2. Transparency, trust, goodwill and stability: these factors are very important if one is to build a solid open-source organization, a momentum based on those factors would make the organization long lasting and growing by itself.
3. Defining/distinguishing target markets capabilities and individual community members needs. Some issues may only be relevant to larger companies and therefore should be confined for commercial development, this does not mean that a conflict of interest may be raised, since community members may even support the notion of paid features in such cases.
4. Effective and realistic prospects development: one must recognize, develop and nature prospects; give them good content, white papers. etc.; and follow up. The demand should be followed in a cost-effective fashion, not expensive missionary sales and proof-of-concepts.
5. Sales and business model: its not enough having an open-source product, one needs to make sure there's a reason for companies to pay for it or its services. It is just as important to make clear to the customers that there is a serious vendor who stands behind the product to make them successful.

The tips above are based on advices by open-source experts, however one should keep in mind that there is not one single model for commercializing open source, and things will continue to evolve as the market expands. What worked in the past may not always apply in the future.

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1. Re: Written on 05/17/10 at 17:03:25 by savabarx

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