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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: [ApacheCon] BoF session on AOO community
Date Mon, 29 Oct 2012 15:26:31 GMT
On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 10:16 AM, Donald Whytock <> wrote:
> About Peter's point #2...I suppose this is getting kind of abstract,
> but what is the payoff from expanding AOO's community?  Typically
> marketing is performed to increase sales, which earns money; AOO has
> no sales, so what should the intended benefit from marketing be?
> How does Apache gain from a larger user base for AOO?  More users ->
> more traffic -> more demand for resources -> more demand for people
> that maintain infrastructure and the money to pay for said
> infrastructure.  What is Apache's interest in promoting its offering
> of AOO?

A basic model to consider is a pyramid diagram, with users at the
base.  They are the foundation of any project.  Without satisfied
users, there is little motivation to do anything.

A small percentage of users will have the skills and interest to get
tangentially involved in the project, maybe submitting a bug report or
two, try a beta release, or telling their friends about us.  That is
the next level of the pyramid.

A smaller percentage will have the skills and interest to make a solid
contribution or two, a code patch in rarer cases, but a documentation
or website patch in others.  But they have no interesting in "joining"
the project per se.  They are the next level of the pyramid.

Then a smaller percentage will want to get more involved and be  a
steady contributor even becoming a committer.  Those are at the top of
the pyramid.

The bigger the base, the bigger the top.  The more users, the more
contributors we have, which leads to better releases and then attracts
more users.  So we set up a virtuous cycle.

Then there is the secondary question of network effect and value of
the network.  The more AOO users there are they greater the value of
skills in AOO extension development, of AOO training and certification
skills, and of migration and deployment services, etc.  These business
interests all become more valuable the more users we have.  Although
nothing requires that business built on AOO contribute back to the
project, in practice they often will, since helping to sustain the
project helps their business as well.  So aside from the "volunteer
pyramid" we set up a second virtuous cycle with business interests.

> How does AOO gain from a larger user base?  More beta-testing, more
> word-of-mouth exposure, more potential donors?  More representative
> clout for acquiring resources from Apache?
> I'm not saying -- I would never say -- that making AOO available to
> the world is a bad or unnecessary thing.  Given monopolistic business
> practices and commercialization of software available, it's important
> for there to be freely available alternatives to such things as an
> office productivity suite.  But if marketing is going to occur, it
> would be good to know what said marketing is meant to accomplish,
> other than promotion for promotion's sake.  Promotion for promotion's
> sake is the organizational manifestation of a viral idea.
> If there's to be a discussion on marketing, perhaps it should include
> a manifesto that's more concrete and strategic than "Don't you think
> this is great?  Let's throw money at it until you do."

I'm happy to do a "call for volunteers" on the marketing side.  That
might help bring in some fresh ideas.

> Don

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