All OSS products are excellent these days. And all OSS vendors know what the most important functionality is. They already have those features built into their products. That is, they’ve already added the all-important features at the left side of the graph.
But it also means product teams are tending to only add the relatively unimportant new features to the right edge of the graph (ie inside the red box). Relatively unimportant and therefore delivering minimal differential advantage.
The challenge for users is that there is a huge amount of relatively worthless functionality that they have to navigate around. This tends to make the user interfaces non-intuitive.
In a previous post, we mentioned that it’s the services wrapper where OSS suppliers have the potential to differentiate.
But another approach, a product-led differentiator, dawned on me when discussing the many sources of OSS friction in yesterday’s post. What if we asked our product teams to take a focus on designing solutions that remove friction instead of the typical approach of adding features (and complexity)?
Almost every OSS I’m aware of has many areas of friction. It’s what gives the OSS industry a bad name. But what if one vendor reduced friction to levels far less than any other competitor? Would it be a differentiator? I’m quite certain customers would be lining up to buy a frictionless OSS even if it didn’t have every perceivable feature.
But can it work? What do you think?