Scott McCarty

See the following -

18 Ways To Differentiate Open Source Products From Upstream Suppliers

Successful open source products must be able to charge a cost that is sufficient to pay for the defrayed upstream open source contributions (development costs) and the downstream productization costs (vendor costs). Stated another way, products can only charge a sufficient price if they create value that can only be captured by customers paying for them. That might sound harsh, but it's a reality for all products. There's a saying in product management: Pray to pay doesn't work. With that said, don't be too worried. There are ethical ways to capture value.

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Going To Market With An Open Source Product

Many people with a long career in engineering, including me, have had misconceptions about sales and marketing. As an engineering community, we've viewed it as things like ordering swag, naming things, running ad campaigns, and creating white papers. There's a joke in the marketing community about how engineers are always willing to provide their "opinions" on marketing decisions without fully comprehending the discipline, but marketers rarely—like never—make suggestions on code improvements. To work together, engineers and marketers must share a common definition.

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How To Define A Product In The Open Source Software Supply Chain

 

In the first article in this series, "Is open source a development model, business model, or something else?" I introduced the concept that open source is part of the supply chain for software products. But to truly understand open source as a supply chain, you must have a decent understanding of what a product is. A product can be thought of as a business, and as legendary business guru Peter Drucker said, "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer." Drucker's statement means a business or product must be useful enough to pay for, or it will fail. Product differentiation is the thing that creates and retains customers.

Is Open Source A Development Model, Business Model, Or Something Else?

The OSD gives a clear definition of what open source software is, but doesn't provide much insight into how the adoption of open source affects a company's ability to build and deliver products or services that people want and need. Stated another way, there's still tremendous debate about the best ways to build a business based on open source. In this first of a multi-part series, I will lay the groundwork for understanding what products are, what product managers do, and how open source can be considered a supply chain. In future articles, I will go deeper into each of these topics, but I'll start by dissecting some common, but fundamentally confusing vocabulary.

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Managing The Open Source Product Roadmap

Customers, as well as the sales and marketing teams who talk to them, love a roadmap. It gives them a sense of what is realistic and what is not. The roadmap is also at the heart of a product. Maintaining an up-to-date product roadmap keeps the product team focused on the customer and aligned around delivering what they need. The roadmap communicates both the strategic direction for a product and the company's perspective on problem solving.

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What Do Open Source Product Teams Do?

Product managers and product marketing managers are the two most common product management roles, but product management can be further split into any number of roles, including competitive analysis, business strategy, sales enablement, revenue growth, content creation, sales tools, and more. With a very large product, even the product management role may be broken up into separate roles. You may even hear titles like technical marketing manager, product evangelist, and business owner, not to mention people-management roles for groups of individual contributor roles. For the purpose of this article, I refer to all of these roles collectively as "product management."

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