Scaling Down, Open Source-*, and RMR Episode 10

Anyone who has read this blog previously knows I’m a huge fan of Redmonk Radio. I am woefully behind on podcast listening – my podcasts folder is about as bad as my need-to-read research folder while I wait for someone to send me a free iPod – but I just got through Episode 10 on “Adobe Live, DRM, Freemium, JavaOne, Predictions”.

The title might not advertise it, but this is actually a great redux discussion on open source business models and the freemium concept. This is a great, if indirect, listen for anyone who needs to understand how open and free models actually increase the value of your core offering, rather than cannabalize it. In particular, I liked Cote‘s comments on the idea that in the world of services and information (arguably even physical products) ultimately you are paying for a relationship – there are just different variations of how the contract and license are structured. But the relationship holds the real compensatory value. Open source is often discussed in the context of software licensing, here Redmonk discusses it in the context of open source analysis. But the concepts and model are much more generally applicable – call it OS-*

This listen came at a great time for me as I had just read this article on long tail-ish thoughts. I don’t quite know where I’m going with my own mash of these thoughts, but my mind is churning.

In large companies, there is still often a hold-it-close mindset even within the walls – information sharing should happen a lot more than it actually does. The RMR conversation has great applicability here, because you should share freely whatever you can in order to more quickly get to the true value of your services and skills. I’m also hot on the centralization topic lately – this is a very natural tendency of many EAs and many corporate IS groups, but it’s not automatically the right idea. It’s enterprisey and all that, but EAs should actually be scouring their organizations for hidden long tails.

The real value of EA should be building services and infrastructure to enable the smallest and most agile business processes imaginable, not building behemoths.

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4 Responses to “Scaling Down, Open Source-*, and RMR Episode 10”

  1. 1 Cote' 23 June 2006 at 12:28 pm

    As always, thanks for the compliments.

    Your last paragraph is a great point, as is your point about information hoarding behind the firewall.

    It pains me to even start thinking about that hoarding.

    As I was disucssing with one of my nerd-friends yesterday, I can’t wait for the next generation of middle-management to come in and realize that the more information you share, the more information you get, and the higher all information becomes.

    Translating high quality information into cash is what white-collar workers are good at.

    QED 😉

  2. 2 James McGovern 25 June 2006 at 8:49 am

    One of the things that I would love for Redmonk to figure out and later blog is how enterprises whose business isn’t about technology and how they could create open source that benefits their industry vertical?

    I don’t think it is 100% the same as software vendors…

  3. 3 James Governor 26 June 2006 at 5:18 am

    thanks greatly scott!

    we’re going to have to work out the mcgovern model.

    i have to say your final sentence is one of the smartest things, tightly written, i have seen as a comment on on the role of architects… recently.

  4. 4 scott 27 June 2006 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts, all.

    Cote – I think there are already some managers who “get it” as far as sharing, but still too many who don’t. I think it’s often self-confidence related. Who knows if generations will change that…

    James M – I like your recent posts on contribution to open source sometimes being other than code; keep going on that.

    James G – thanks bro!

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