I had the pleasure to play with the iPhone this summer while at LinuxWorld San Francisco. As Steve Jobs usually says in his Macworld presentations: “it is breathtaking”. As of yet, I cannot purchase one because as you know, it is neither homologated nor active for European mobile networks. Although I couldn’t experience the device while it functioned working as a phone, what I experienced at the Apple store indicates that it is really an amazing product.
For me above all it apparently is:
1) A best in class benchmark in usability success stories (check the following video )
- Your feel as attracted to the design as with the iPods
- After 2 or 3 minutes of usage, you not only know how to use the device but also you experience incredible navigability features that are clear innovations in software applications. Features like zoom in zoom out, the capability to scroll up and down with inertia, the magnifier functionality that pops up when clicking a word with your finger to correct it…the list goes on.
- The applications which are included by default in the device are just very well thought out
2) A device that redefines the mobile internet experience and makes you truly believe in it
- The industry has been talking a lot about mobile data … I have not believed much in this industry (with the exception of the SMS), when experiencing the mobile data experience that other terminals would give you; but now wait until you experience the iPhone when…
- … web browsing with a wi-fi connection … amazing! … this is really web browsing and not what we have experienced in the past
- … experience other widgets like the Maps … you can easily find routes to places when traveling, …
- … weather … you can easily get the weather forecasts (definitively a killer up for my wife!)
- … Youtube … watch videos right away, and many more that make me think that this new iPhone really redefines how the mobile industry will evolve.
Overall, and obviously with a disclaimer since I still have not fully tried out the phone (things like the batteries,…), big kudos to the Usability and Engineering team at Apple. If anyone there is looking to join Openbravo, please send your resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be more than happy to talk to you! 😉
So in the end, what will Round 2 LinuxWorld be remembered for? In addition to meeting some great representatives from companies in the Open Solutions Alliance, and talking to potential partners and end clients; quite simply I’ll remember LinuxWorld …
From August 6-9, Openbravo will be making its 2nd trip to the San Francisco LinuxWorld (Booth #1308). This conference is billed as “…the premier event for the Linux and open source community, bringing together industry leaders shaping the future …
On June 7th Stephen Walli invited me through his blog to list three success factors and three things to avoid when building businesses using open source software. This is coming from a challenge initiated by Mikko Puhakka that tagged three people to jump in (one of them was Stephen) and there is already a good number of opinions being posted through this interesting pyramid (e.g, Marten Mickos, Javier Soltero, …). So here I go:
My three success factors for open source projects are listed as follows:
1. A great product at least equivalent to successful proprietary competition
- Very obvious point but a must that becomes a “killer” aspect when combined with open source. A great product generates positive word of mouth from its users which is directly amplified through the natural dissemination mechanisms of open source.
2. Active and relevant community
- Mandatory to properly leverage the two most critical aspects that open source enables from a business standpoint of view:
- Facilitate the development of quality software
- Facilitate the Sales & Distribution of software
3. Solid business plan executed by a great team of professionals
- The business plan of any successful open source vendor should be build leveraging a mix of low touch-high velocity products & services sold arround the core open source product. An excellent team of professionals is the key ingredient to define, build and maintain the right business.
My three things to avoid:
1. Unbalanced leadership
- A great product is developed by excellent product engineers. A great business is developed by a team of professionals with the right balance between technology and business skills. Typical business issues that should be well thought are: h2 build a leading brand in a world full of proprietary software?, h2 accelerate community growth and foster dissemination?, h2 acquire, develop and maintain best in class partners when starting up?, …
2. Mismanagement of company growth
- Open source by definition is international as of day one since software is available in the internet. If things go well … demand is much larger than the capacity of the start-ups behind the product to serve it. A well thought offering helps you grow your company without compromising quality service levels.
3. Unclear/ unfair policies that confuse your community on what is for free and what is offered at a fee
- I love Marten Mickos presentation @ OSBC this year which said “Success in open source requires you to serve: 1) Those who spend time to save money and 2) Those who spend money to save time”. This is only achieved by being very clear, fair and open with your company policies.
People I have tagged to continue the challenge (I exclude the ones that have already been tagged by others such as Marten, Matt, Javier,…):
Fabrizio Capobianco (Funambol‘s CEO, open source guru, great entrepreneur and another European in the Valley)
- Peter Fenton (One of the most experience Venture Capitalists in the space from Benchmark Capital, who has a very distinct opinion about the real drivers behind Open Source businesses)
- And last but not least … Josep Mitjà (Openbravo’s COO and Open Solutions Alliance Board member … sorry Josep but lately you are not posting messages in your blog and the world needs food for thought!)
Last week, while still in Cannes, I read an article about SAP’s point of view on the impact of open source in ERPs. Henning Kagermann, SAP’s current CEO, declared in Computer Business Review that “Open Source is an option for operating systems and databases but not at the business application level”. This point of view does not surprise me since it is not a new statement coming from a top software executive. In the past, important executives such as Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer also disregarded the Open Source opportunity/ threat in the operating system world. But … you know … what really strikes me is the main rationale that Henning was using to support his point of view. He argumented that Open Source successful projects are those where developers like to work for “fun” and literally said “I have never seen anyone who likes doing that (referring to altering applications to cater for legal or regulatory changes such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Basel II). That is not fun. There is no choice. The boring bits are a strength of SAP” .
I am really astonished … Can we imply that SAP’s strengths against open source competitors are only built upon boring pieces?. Does Henning see open source competitors failing on their purpose because there is no fun on building ERPs?. If that was the name of the game … and you are working at SAP … please tell your boss that our growing community encompassing now more than 50 employees and more than hundreds of individuals working for IT companies around the world is really having “fun”!!!!. But please tell him that we are not having fun for the sake of fun. And here it comes the true reason why open source will make it in the world of ERPs: Fun for the sake of building Openbravo, the leading open source ERP Company in the space. At the end experience tells us that everything that can be built on open source, is finally built on open source (see other similar projects that are building business applications successfully with open source @ the Open Solutions Alliance )”.
Anyway … I am convinced that we will see Henning in the future adapting its pitch as many others (read Gates and Ballmer) have done it. Don’t you think?