Friday, March 9, 2007


I'm at the Open Source Think Tank conference in Napa, California at the moment and we've had a few interesting conversations. One of the topics we discussed was disruption. Disruption is a word we love to use in the open-source world and we often describe ourselves as great disruptors and innovators.

On the other hand, consumers often fear disruption. Consumers seek smooth operation of their IT organization, they want to know that they can count on uninterrupted operation. Consumers also have their own context, often deeply established, that sets the stage for their interactions with software vendors.

One of the problems we have is our attempt as open-source vendors to sell replacement technology, this is the least attractive proposition for the consumer as it creates customer disruption without clear and convincing benefit.

However, there's tremendous opportunity in solving new problems for our prospective customers. There are tons of IT problems that have never been fixed and it's time we started solving them. Open-source allows us to create solutions easier - essentially being disruptive on the producer side, without being disruptive to the consumer. The consumer is now in a position of acquiring new technology to solve an existing, unsolved problem.

Our opportunity and challenge in the open-source world is to be disruptive without disrupting our customers.


Nicholas Goodman said...


I think the context for disruption is almost always in the "established market" context. Hardly ever in the "product feature" mix.

A word to be careful with, for sure. Especially when you're trying to convince ole fuddy duddy CIO (Who knows about check records on mainframe files) to use your software.

Good point.

chiefmaugus said...

Dave - I really enjoy your blog. I'm helping a private sw company raise capital. They are one of at least three other known players who have developed an effective approach to mitigating the threat of malware - called whitelisting. I asked my friend -a respected and influential security analyst working at a bulge bracket firm, about whitelisting, and he said that he wasn't bullish on whitelisting because he thinks that the niche is getting commoditized -most "white lists" seem to be open-source. Why does the fact that these vendors seem to be open source rub this mainstream analyst the wrong way- in your opinion? Would you consider whitelisting just a replacement technology or does is it an effective solution to malware?
thank you.