Saturday, March 04, 2006

The measure of success

We spent a good amount of time during the formation of Vyatta thinking about how to quantify the success (or lack thereof) of the company over the next 12-18 months. Top line revenue based on our service and support offerings would be a quantitative sign. Yet, we think that there may be a more subjective measure - one that requires our potential customers to experience a pause.

The pause occurs before people order a closed source product where a credible open source alternative exists. Should I use Oracle or try mySQL for the database? Siebel or SugarCRM for our CRM deployment? Deploy NMS using HP OpenView or give IT Groundworks a shot? The pauses are already occuring in IT shops across the world on these open source alternatives.

Another network device from the closed source vendor or give Vyatta a test drive?

That's the pause we need. It's not going to be a pause in the near term, but we have the patience and conviction to see if it will occur in a reasonable amount of time.

If we're right, then people will be using our products, receiving service and support from us and our community and realize that they are reaping the same benefits as they did with closed source alternatives. Then, the measure of success should be easy to quantify.


At 8:46 PM, Blogger Startups said...

Very well said Allan. The "pause" factor will definitely be one good subjective measure. Also, the other thing that should be considered is the "migrate" factor, i.e., how many of those currently using "closed source" based network equip migrate to the "open source" based network equip "for good".

congrats on the beta and best wishes for FCS release.


At 9:21 PM, Blogger Allan Leinwand said...

Thanks GoogGal! We spend a lot of time thinking about the migration factor and I'll admit that we just don't have a quantitative answer yet. We do know that a lot of folks that used to use closed source were convinced that open source would never find a home in corporate IT. We hope to ride in the bow-wake of that movement and give the market an open alternative for networking.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger xyzzy said...

Allan, I would add to your measure of "subjective" success that you should be able to give pause to those who don't need you. It's one thing for a five-person firm, barely scraping by, to make the choice for, say, OpenOffice over Microsoft Office; it's quite another for IBM to do the same. That's why IBM's support of Linux was such news - it's far easier for a large firm with an established reputation and customer base to just pay a license and count on guarantees, than it is for that same firm to make the leap of faith to open source.

But I know that you knew this already, because we're in tune, eh? :)


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