Study the behaviours, needs and frustrations of your customers

It is my belief that it is not possible to invent truly original ideas if you absorb too much of that that you wish to differentiate yourself from.
As I said, don’t overly study the competition.
Study instead the behaviours, needs and frustrations belonging to your customers. Build a culture and environment that nurtures creativity and problem solving
.”
Simon Devonshire.

Over time, over budget, under delivered. These are common mantras coming from OSS customers.

That’s not really all that surprising because there are so many moving parts to an OSS, which includes people, process and tools. It adds up to being the most complex chess board one could imagine.

Rather than being caught up in an arms race of functionality, I wonder whether the next truly original OSS idea is to follow Simon’s suggestion and build the simplest OSS based on the following criteria:

  • Build a full service OSS that is radically simpler than anyone else’s on the market.
  • Only develop the most important 80% of core CSP needs, which get implemented in 20% of the time (and 20% of the cost), according to Pareto’s principle
  • Provide the functionality that makes it the simplest and most open to interface with so that it is simple for other developers to construct the remaining 20% of CSP needs that are customised to each
  • Make high quality training and artefacts readily available
  • The ease for developers to customise generates a loyal base of users who are also promoters
  • Build upon tools that already exist (eg GIS platforms, programming platforms, data storage platforms, etc) and that are similarly open and accessible
  • Actively promote a simplified OSS chess-board
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