high fidelity

(I can only barely forgive myself for that title. I hope you can manage as well.)

After my previous post about Fidelity and Firefox, Rafael pointed me at another article about Fidelity’s adoption of Firefox. A gem from that one, emphasis mine:

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:

  1. Make it easy for users to try and love your software where they can most comfortably do so (e.g., at home).
  2. Make it them wish they could have it elsewhere (e.g., at work).
  3. 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.

one comment to “high fidelity”

  1. Caleb
    entered 4 January 2006 @ 3:00 am

    Your first priority is to make Firefox work right on an Enterprise…….

    I’m mostly talking about corporate deployment. Once you’ve achieved that, it’ll be really easy to sell Firefox to enterprises.

  2. entered 4 January 2006 @ 7:15 am

    I totally agree. but there is a missing item:

    1. Remove the roadblocks that prevent enterprises to easily deploy your product in their environment. Write documentation for enterprise deployment, fix obvious blockers (MSI builds).
  3. Paul
    entered 5 January 2006 @ 5:38 am

    mozillaZine feedHouse mangles your blog by changing single quotes to multiple characters as in “Microsoft’s”.

  4. entered 5 January 2006 @ 10:27 am

    I don’t understand how someone can read my post and then turn around and write that my first priority is to “make Firefox work right on an Enterprise”. Isn’t it patently obvious that my first priority is not that? If I cared more about enterprise deployment I might want to ask how you know it would be “really easy to sell Firefox” once we, uh, deploy it for them? — but I don’t, so I’ll just stick to boggling. Are you trying to give me my priorities, Caleb? I don’t get it.

    Tristan: I said “help them sell it” and not “sell it for them” for a reason. And I don’t really understand what “enterprise deployment” means, in that it would seem to vary a lot per enterprise. Certainly every enterprise I’ve worked in has done desktop software deployment differently (if at all). If you were to get les gendarmes to write up their experiences deploying Firefox, though, then that would be an interesting thing to point people at to get started. I bet we could even find people to translate it.

    Paul: I’m pretty sure that that character is properly encoded as UTF-8, which is the character set of my feed. Feedhouse seems to be presenting its content as Latin-1, without actually converting to make sure it’s the case. I think you need to report that issue to them.

  5. entered 5 January 2006 @ 9:34 pm

    Why Ads?

    Shaver suggested I add some ads to my site to help pay off my car and/or pay for my car insurance. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I’ve added some small Google Adsense. If anyone finds them obtrusive…

  6. entered 6 January 2006 @ 3:35 am

    More on Infocard

    Joshua Porter suggested I listen to the Identity Gang II show. I’m glad he did, great listening:


  7. entered 10 January 2006 @ 2:57 am
    (I can only barely forgive myself for that title. I hope you can manage as well.)

    I commend you for your humor, particularly as it’s the sort that makes people cringe in pain; those are the best kind of jokes by far. :-)

  8. entered 12 January 2006 @ 8:07 pm

    > we’re better off trying to get to enterprises via users

    I think so. However, this case doesn’t support that. In this case they were “engineers”. Users are rarely engineers, and engineers are not the target for most software. We need to please those decision-makers while not forcing their favourite features on the regular users.

    Firefox extensions do this pretty well. But I’d rather find a way to make the non-engineers want us too, or even know about us.

  9. kev
    entered 15 January 2006 @ 7:06 pm

    See… I read the title and wondered where the other two bullet points were.