Seeding supply or demand?

My other observation is that in most cases one side of the [supply and demand] marketplace comes much more easily than the other. On Lexoo supply comes more easily whereas on Appear Here, a marketplace for short term lets on the High Street demand is the easier side. The trick then is to build the easy side to make the marketplace super attractive for the more difficult side.”
Nic Brisbourne here.

This is an interesting perspective on the supply / demand equation from Nic. I hadn’t thought of it in this way before.

As anyone in OSS knows, there are very few “traditional” customers on the market for a new OSS at any point in time, so the demand side is very limited. On the supply side, there are many OSS products. Those products are undergoing constant refinement to add new features. It’s relatively easy to create a new product (supply side) but very difficult to find customers for it (demand side).

But the difficult question is in how to make the supply-side super-attractive for the more difficult side. I believe there are four key parts to this question:

  1. Unlocking the challenges that “traditional” customers have with OSS and there are many (most stem from complexity from all angles)
  2. Creating a platform for “traditional” customers that in turn draws customers to them, not just being a back-office tool
  3. Creating a product that is compelling to non-traditional customers – ones that are being drawn into the digital revolution and rely heavily on communications technologies, but don’t have the same appetite for complex functionality that the “traditional” customers of OSS (ie the CSPs like telcos, ISPs and data centres)
  4. Building an ecosystem that consolidates the supply-side (so many clever developers working on so much great OSS functionality) rather than the current segmented market with islands of capability spread across hundreds/thousands of suppliers

What do you think? What else can we do on the “easy” side of the marketplace to make it super attractive for the more difficult side?

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