Giving away your silver for a golden future


(Picture is borrowed from Robin Dickinson)

In the AX-Ecosystem we see that blogging, sharing and networking is strong and open. Colleagues and knowledge friends find each other across company borders and culture. Quite a lot business is actually created through this community. And those that is not here will struggle to get into position. Some people ask me: “Why are you doing this ?” This quick answer is: “Because I like to, and because it is fun”. But there are more to it than that. Here is the “secret two line” business model of sharing.

  • Give away some ideas, components/code, wisdom and experience – for free – and hope that the dynamics ecosystem (the crowd) will use it.
  • Then do our best to make sure that some of them want to buy more of our ideas, our know-how and our hard-earned wisdom and experience.

Some companies talk about the value of protecting their IP-rights, and they have IP-rights on everything. Down to the little small code samples. But an IP-based business model have some fundamental issues:

  • Revenue is often based on licenses and yearly support fee’s.
  • Requires substantial costs on sales, presales, support and R&D efforts to meet standards and expectations.
  • Keeping it on the “pricelist” have a cost.
  • Customers expect components to be compliant with new Microsoft versions and releases.
  • Bug and Issues are expected to be fixed free of charge.
  • Risks quickly becomes expensive

The assumption is that the revenue must be higher than the costs of maintain and keeping the components on the price list.

However, what we see is that Investments stops. No innovation. Very difficult to find for the customers. Knowledge is lost, and IP based components are often not profitable in long term.

 

So, what kind of things are we talking about ?

  • Small ideas, that would never be a product.
  • Potential reusable components.
  • Customer financed customizations.
  • Basically things we cannot build an ordinary business model on.

One alternative is to use Codeplex as a business model.

  • The Dynamics ecosystem is small. Very easy to get high visibility.
  • Sharing is a very positive message. Can strengthen the your brand.
  • Can increase service revenue. New customers seek knowledge from the sources.
  • Triggers customers “Pull” behavior instead of “Push”.
  • Reach new potential employees that take a pride on sharing their knowledge and ideas.

A few days ago, I wanted to test this approach, so I blogged about a very small code piece I gave away, and wanted to measure the effectiveness, and here is the effect after 2 days.


How much would it cost in traditional marketing and brand building to achieve this reach ? Surely more then the small hour I used to publish it. I can also assure you that by giving away some of your work though sites like codeplex do build brand value and do generate a profitable and golden future.

 

(*From the Coca Cola dude)

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