(I can only barely forgive myself for that title. I hope you can manage as well.)
Recently the center began testing the open-source Firefox browser, an alternative to Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer. Charlie Brenner, a Fidelity senior vice president in charge of the center, says the idea came from engineers in his department who were using it at home and liked Firefox’s advanced features, such as the ability to open new browser windows in tabs rather than in a whole separate browser, and its promise of being more secure from hacker attacks than Explorer.
Someone else agrees with, or is perhaps experiencing, my current theory on enterprises and our software: we’re better off trying to get to enterprises via users, and not the other way around. Dunno if the same logic holds for other disruptive software, especially our open source cousins, but I think that the following three-step plan is probably as useful as many wordier ones that are getting funding and publicity today:
- Make it easy for users to try and love your software where they can most comfortably do so (e.g., at home).
- Make it them wish they could have it elsewhere (e.g., at work).
- Help them sell it to the people who can make that wish come true.
I could easily write paragraphs upon paragraphs about each of those bullet points, talking about things like minimizing change cost and playing to the unique scaling strengths of open source communities, but you can all probably imagine what it’d look like. And I don’t have to type or edit your imaginings, so we all win.
Of course, I am not a millionaire entrepreneur success story, teenage software genius, proven technology futurist, or even venture-funded experimenter, so it’s quite likely that you can get better advice elsewhere.