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Re: [board-discuss] Big organisations not contributing


Hi Leo,

On 13/07/2020 22:07, Leo Moons wrote:
It strikes me that there's a lot of talk about large organizations, that
don't contribute to the community. But why not talk to these
organizations?

        Its a good idea, and of course everyone is trying to do that. For example when C'bra first 
went into business - we sunk Eur 100k+ into a full-time sales & marketing person mostly focused on 
governments for over a year. They were backed by great enthusiasm and a political push from central 
government in the UK, net result: around zero contribution.

        In broad brush-strokes: governments are very good at consuming your time talking, they love 
that. They even legislate with positive sounding words about open standards, and so on - but 
getting actual traction in terms of reality on the ground - direct contribution or sales that turn 
into contribution is extraordinarily hard. I guess that's true of any large organization the writ 
from the top runs only so far down the hierarchy.

        I had a section on some of the problems here:

https://people.gnome.org/~michael/data/vendor-neutral-marketing.html#commercial-marketing

        Sorry to copy/paste:

        "You can sponsor conferences, and attend them. Picking the right conference is a real 
trick, and the costs here are prohibitive. Imagine spending ~€5k attending a conference filled with 
Open Source interested Government IT decision makers. Imagine presenting your product, and having 
the friendly & enthusiastic conference moderator personally and explicitly promote buying your 
products to the entire conference. Imagine the zero leads that result in paid business, and/or any 
return at all. Repeat until convinced that this is a dead end. TDF itself has free booths at many 
conferences donated by the organizers, companies do not."

        Did I mention that ~no government person has a business card: you can meet them at a 
conference and chat to them while they pass by your very expensive booth, but following that up and 
turning it into sales is really tough. They also tend to operate on a timescale that is 
extraordinarily long - after all - there is little pressure to do any given thing by any given date.

        Naturally TDF could get free booths, free talks etc. left and right, but by presenting a 
gratis message in these fora with no firm steer to contribute this will consume TDF resource too 
for little win for our mission.

Go into discussion and convince them of the usefulness of contributing
to the project. They already get the best office software, but it is
also important for them that this software is further developed,
improved and distributed.

        So - of course you're right; we need to persuade people one by one, and make winsome 
arguments that they should contribute in their self interest. The problem is how to get that 
message across efficiently and effectively - the ecosystem sells software at well below the cost of 
MS Office. That means that the cost of marketing and sales to just initiate and complete those 
conversations can very easily swamp any possible return.

        Currently extraordinarily few enterprises appear to even know they should have that 
conversation around the desktop version. Hence attempting some changes here to make people more 
aware; does that make sense ? how can we initiate those conversations with the right people, 
effectively.

        ATB,

                Michael.

-- 
michael.meeks@collabora.com <><, GM Collabora Productivity
Hangout: mejmeeks@gmail.com, Skype: mmeeks
(M) +44 7795 666 147 - timezone usually UK / Europe

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