Looking for new business oportunities

Kenneth Hawkins kjurkic at yahoo.ca
Mon Feb 23 19:34:45 UTC 2009

Howdy again

Looks like a solid approach to me. I believe there is a very good case for the elimination of antivirus/spyware utilities; not that they are bad, but I have never needed them in my 10+ years in the linux world. And they have saved a lot of grief in the window's world.

If the clients' LAN is properly configured, you could even eliminate regular updates for linux apps. I set up a SPAMASSASIN/web/samba server, on a public IP address with no protection other than being linux with very good passwords, and it was (to the best extent I could test it; annual checkups booted from LiveCD & run rootkit & virus checking) never compromised in over 6 years. It was never updated during that time. 

Remember that you are providing stability, security & financial benefits; they just happen to come in a linux wrapper. You need to sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Happy hunting

PS can I submit a resume in a year or so? 8^D

From: Darryl Moore <darryl at moores.ca>
To: The Canadian Ubuntu Users Community <ubuntu-ca at lists.ubuntu.com>
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 11:12:46 AM
Subject: Re: Looking for new business oportunities

Hi Kenneth. I agree with your rant completely. People have to be truly
motivated to switch from something they are comfortable with to
something new. It doesn't matter if new is better or not.

The functional benefits of Linux alone are hardly sufficient to entice
people to change, since in this case we are looking to offer the same
functionality they already enjoy. The motivation really has to come in
the form of money. My guess is that business are more motivated now by
financial arguments then they ever have been. If a company with modest
computer needs can save a significant amount of money by using free
software and not needing anti-virus software, they would me more likely
in the current climate to make the change then they might have previously.

Add to that the lack of need for a software licence management system,
and the loss of threat of a costly BSA raid triggered by disgruntled
former employees.

In terms of business model, I'm thinking of a multi-step process.

- outline exactly what software they require.
- provide software and/or machine they can use to evaluate system.
- offer remote server configured for file/colaberation/calendar for
their enterprise so they can evaluate the server side as well.
- when satisfied, write contract which has me upgrade all their
workstations and servers for a portion of the annual savings from the
cancelled MS licence agreement.
- offer additional training for specific software at extra cost.

The main hurdle for this business (other that the technology inertia
mentioned above) is the difficulty being able to demonstrate my own long
term stability such that they will be assured I will always be around to
support them as Microsoft can. However, if I can partner with a number
of other companies doing the same thing and if I can become an Ubuntu
partner myself, then I should be able to demonstrate that even if I am
not around, then at least someone capable of supporting them will be.

It's not a venture yet. I am testing the waters though.


Kenneth Hawkins wrote:
> Howdy Darryl
> Up front is just a bit of a rant, but please bear with me.
> Just from my own experience, the tough part is and alway will be, the
> desktop & business apps. The sad factoid is that majority of people
> using computers DO NOT WANT TO LEARN! Especially after they have already
> invested time & effort into proficiency, or at least minimal competence
> in the applications they need to perform their job. They want to come in
> at 8AM, punch buttons in the order they have learned by rote, and clock
> out at 5PM.
> I have seen too many articles over the past decade that go "Is Linux
> ready for the desktop?"....well it has been ready for over a decade, at
> least as far as business environments are concerned. The problem is that
> Microsh1ttm has too much of the public's mindshare. You can document and
> demonstrate how there is not a single task that staff perform that could
> not be done with the FOSS alternatives. Doesn't matter, not because they
> don't believe you, but because the folks in the trenches would be forced
> into an unfamiliar desktop, with unfamiliar applications, so they would
> actually have to think, and the one thing that humans in general DO NOT
> WANT TO DO, is think. They want to coast along on what they already
> know. The really sad part of all this is that these same people will
> eagerly run out and get the latest windows/office version, just to find
> that they will have to learn something new anyway......but thats OK,
> because "no one has ever been fired for buying Microsoft"
> It is always easier to get linux into the server room, which I have
> accomplished with a few clients with better than anticipated success.
> The next step to address any centralisation issues they may be
> experiencing, such as document collaboration, shared calendars, and
> such; get them off of that Lookout! crapware, and onto a web interface
> for their email, calendars (esp group ones), To-do lists, and most
> importantly - document control. Get them used to using the browser to
> upload & download from a corporate repository/library where tracking and
> revisioning can be managed centrally. Create easy to access containers
> for standard forms, etc. Try and migrate any Access or other local DB's
> that people have on their desktops to a central server running a true
> multi-user SQL/DB. Its not about getting linux into the environment; its
> about solving problems, making the workflow easier, and keeping the
> customer happy.
> Then you can start with a staged migration of some of the workstations
> that are very generic. Reception staff, non-specialised office staff,
> some power users who might be willing to buy-in. Give them a linux
> distribution that is very targetted to their job, has only the apps they
> need, and won't block them with security glitches; ie make sure the user
> can do their job WITHOUT having to call you for anything other than
> basic "How do I..." instructions. Set the desktop to look as much like
> XP as you possibly can, so that that users aren't frustrated with an
> unfamiliar layout. Set all the apps document format defaults to be
> Microsoft compatible.
> I will detour here for a moment, but hope this anecdote helps. Years
> ago, a new instructor was hired at the college where I worked. This
> fellow had a PhD in math, and had completed it in near record time. He
> had skipped a few years in K-12, and still been straight A all
> throughout. The feeling of the other instructors, and management was
> "Great, now we have a first class Calculus course! Students will
> excell!". This instructor set a new record for failure & dropout rates
> in his courses. There was nothing special about his curricula, same as
> every year before him. He wasn't lazy, and he was sincere. The problem
> was that because it all came so easily to him, he could not understand
> how other people could not understand what he was teaching. He was
> unable to put himself in their shoes.
> The biggest barrier to the general adoption of linux has been, IMO, the
> fact that most of us who have adopted it are naturally curious and
> willing to endure some frustrations and problems to have a better end
> experience, or even just for the new experience, and we cannot grasp why
> everyone else doesn't feel/behave the same way.
> Sorry this was so long; hope it was helpful
> Good luck with your venture
> Ken
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Darryl Moore <darryl at moores.ca>
> *To:* ubuntu-ca at lists.ubuntu.com
> *Sent:* Monday, February 23, 2009 7:32:27 AM
> *Subject:* Looking for new business oportunities
> Hello list. I'm a frequent reader of this list, but alas not a huge
> contributor.
> I am currently looking for new business opportunities for myself and the
> people in this group may have some insight into some ideas I have, so if
> you have a moment please read and comment on the following.
> In my previous business I built vehicle tracking hardware that ran on
> satellite and cellular networks. The hardware I built typically were not
> linux based (too small) but they did sport a POSIX API. I did develop
> one ARM based device which ran linux but that product was not completed
> before my departure.
> I built the company IT infrustructure on linux, and all my home PC's run
> linux as well, so I do have some basic Linux sys admin as well as
> programming skills.
> I have developed a bit of a FLOSS obsession over the last few years and
> have been wondering if I could turn this into a business. What I'd like
> to do is target local companies that are big enough to have purchased MS
> volume licenses, but small enough that a small IT company could
> reasonably support, (Say 10-100 machines) and help them save money by
> converting their IT infrastructure over to Linux. Either the entire
> network, or simply their servers, what ever they are more comfortable
> with. I would take my pay as a fraction of what they save by being able
> to cancel their MS business agreement.
> There are gaps in my knowledge of course which I would have to fill, but
> there is an Ubuntu partner in Montreal which offers training. As well,
> I'd have to get some reasonable estimates of what MS business licenses
> typically cost (currently I have no idea). Everything I've found online
> is suitably vague. One must call a MS rep before getting any real
> estimate.
> Mark Shuttleworth is currently working hard to get Ubuntu onto business
> desktops, and with the current economic downturn, it seems to me that
> there should be a ripe market of small companies looking to reduce costs
> whereever they can. This is a niche that will a bit of training and
> marketing, I think I can fill.
> I would be looking (at least initially) at companies with simple needs;
> office productivity, email, file servers, web servers, and supporting
> both Windows and Linux based work stations.
> If anybody here has technical or business advice on this idea, I'd
> dearly like to hear from you.
> Thanks,
> Darryl Moore
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