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From Rob Weir <robw...@apache.org>
Subject The Next 100 Million Users
Date Tue, 18 Sep 2012 14:43:16 GMT
Now that AOO 3.4.1 is out the door I'd like to think about what is
needed to get OpenOffice to the next level.   We've had over 16
million downloads of AOO 3.4 in a few months.  The legacy
OpenOffice.org project claimed 100 million downloads in a year.
Microsoft claims 1 billion users of Microsoft Office.  So that is the
scope of the market we're looking at.  16 million is the opening. But
we should be thinking about 100's of millions.

OpenOffice is extremely familiar within the world open source
enthusiasts.  Everyone there knows about it.  This fame has
transferred over to the tech crowd in general.   Even if someone knows
nothing else about open source software, if they know anything, the
brands they know are Linux, Firefox and OpenOffice.

But we must be honest, and recognize that the average PC users, the
ones that don't have Slashdot accounts, and who cannot spell "Linux",
they have not heard of us.  Mainstream recognition is not there.

So that leads to the question:  Where will our next 100 million users
come from?

IMHO they will not come from:

1) Presentations at open source conferences

2) World of mouth within the open source community

3) Handing out CD's or memory sticks at small local events

4) Posting nice things about OpenOffice on Twitter and Facebook

Of course, the above all are useful for other things, especially for
growing the community.  But in terms of growing the user base,
repeating the same techniques of the last decade will bring us only
diminishing returns.  We don't get another 100 million users by
preaching to the open source choir.  Even if we went to every open
source event around the world, we'd only be speaking to 100,000 or so
users total.  We need to find ways of reaching a mainstream audience.

Certainly we don't get 100 million new users in a single campaign.
But I would suggest that any campaign that does not give us a
reasonable chance of reaching an audience of at least 2 million people
is probably not worth a huge amount of attention and effort.

Any ideas?

In the spirit of brainstorming, I'll offer these ideas:

1)  Press coverage -- We need to reach beyond the open source echo
chamber and into mainstream tech and business press.  Walt Mossberg,
David Pogue, John Dvorak, etc.  Think Wall Street Journal, Forbes,
BusinessWeek, but also magazines that cater to thrifty consumers like
Consumer Reports, Money, etc.

2) Placement in high profile curated app stores -- Windows 8, Mac, Amazon

3) Emerging Markets, where the price advantage of open source has a
greater advantage.

Any other breakthrough ideas?

-Rob

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