Wyatt Winters | Saving the world one computer at a time

BizLegFoss Final Exam

2015 05 18

What a delightfully bizarre class this has been. Assignments that were sometimes made up on the fly, due dates that were more rough suggestions than actual deadlines, 3 times more blog posts than I have ever made in my life, and about 5 weeks of IRC classes. While I can't say I enjoyed every minute of it, it was still quite an experience. So, in the appropriate fashion, the final exam of the class is a blog post. I wonder how many other classes at RIT has a blog-post-final-exam. It's probably 0, right? Anyways, after this long and unnecessary introduction paragraph, it's time to answer these questions.

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Advantage: Development Speed

It follows that commercial developers leveraging the bazaar mode should be able to grab, and keep, a substantial initiative advantage over those that don't. But there's more; the first commercial developer in a given market niche to switch to this mode may gain substantial advantages over later ones.

Why? Because the pool of talent available for bazaar recruitment is limited. The first bazaar project in a given niche is more likely to attract the best co-developers to invest time in it. Once they've invested the time, they're more likely to stick with it.

Advantage: Lower Overhead

Switching to the open-source model should also be good for a significant overhead reduction in per-project software production costs.

The open-source model allows software shops to (in effect) outsource some of their work, paying for it in values less tangible than money. (But perhaps not less economically significant; the increased speed with which an outside co-developer can have a needed bug fix will often translate into a substantial opportunity gain for that customer.)

This means smaller shops will be able to handle bigger projects.

Advantage: Closeness to the Customer

One of the most often-repeated pieces of management advice is "Stay close to the customer." In today's fast-moving, short-product-cycle business climate it's more important than ever to do that - to understand almost as soon as they do what the customers want and be able to rapidly respond to those needs.

If you sell software, what better way to do this than by co-opting your customers' engineers to help your development?

It's worth pointing out that the open-source, bazaar method resembles the way many successful Japanese companies have done consumer product development; get a product to market that works but is not perfect, and iterate quickly based upon customer feedback to reach the combination of features that the customers need and want. This has turned out to be especially valuable for high technology products (laptops, personal assistants, cellphones, etc) that people don't know they need, or what features they need.

Advantage: Broader Market

An important side-effect of the open-source model will be a much wider platform range for your product. Open-source authors frequently find themselves receving [sic], for free, port changes for operating systems and environments they barely know exist and can't afford developers to support. Each such port, of course, widens the market appeal of the product.

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Wow, that was pretty painless.

This entry was tagged as bizlegfoss