Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When is open source like Starbucks?

When there is a premium placed on customization. This morning I am getting some work done in a local SBUX waiting for traffic to die down and I see a stream of people willing to come in and pay two to three times the price for a cup of coffee from the competitor across the street. Why is that? Customization.

I watched a special that featured SBUX on television the other night and their VP of Brand stated that there are 80,000 possible combinations of coffee using their standard menu. Starbucks understands that people will pay a premium to get exactly what they want.

This can be applied to open source software where the premium isn't always a financial one. It could be the investment you have to make in your IT force to educate them in other lines of software or understanding that your IT services need to change in order to better server the organization as a whole.

Companies will not only pay more for better service but they will do so gladly. What they resent though are sky-high fees for licenses, maintenance, insurance, proprietary audits, and the like; and then being asked by those same software companies to sign on the the line which is dotted for another three years.

The open source companies are here today and are open for business.

You want extra whip on that?

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