Word of mouth is working against OSS

As you might have noticed, I’m passionate about OSS, what they can do now, what they can do in the future and how they can help organisations prosper in this highly digital era. But one of the things I notice when speaking with the vast number of people directly involved or touched by our industry is that so much of the commentary is negative. In this lies the question about why is it so? There seem to be so few people who are raving advocates of the multitude of OSS solutions that the industry offers… well so few when you take out the people who are paid to market their products.

Clearly, one of the most powerful marketing tools known to man, word-of-mouth (aka net promoter score), is working against the OSS industry and its constituent offerings. This probably also explains why the industry is so fragmented. But why? The answer lies in the user experience, but that’s too high level to be helpful. At a more granular level, it might be because stakeholders have been let down, have expected more than has been delivered, worn down, have not been excited by the stories of possibility, and so many other possible reasons.

We’re clearly not giving our market what they need. And herein lies the opportunity. When even the biggest names in the OSS business are being denigrated (often more vehemently than the rest), then it’s clear that the opportunity is enormous. In this current era, it’s the organisations that understand the customer’s latent needs and are able to package a solution that are disrupting industries. The needs for OSS aren’t going away any time soon, despite what the negative word of mouth might suggest, so whoever can find a way of connecting needs with solutions is going to cause a big commotion in OSS.

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