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Re: More DConsult ideas... (long)

Wow! You HAVE been thinking a lot about this.  I will take a moment to
make a few comments and will read this more in depth later tonite, I have
a local geek meeting here in Silicon Valley (sbay.org monthly pizza
get-together) to attend ... maybe I will bring a copy of this because
there are a few Linux consultants that attend on an irregular basis.

> If I spend a month putting things together (with some help) - I
> imagine that we could have a very impressive set of services that we
> would be able to deliver to our clients.
> If it comes together the way I imagine it, I have quite a few friends
> and connections with private business and government that would be
> very interested in hearing the sales pitch.  I'd bet that many of you
> are in a similar situation.  I think there is an awful lot of work out
> there, and we may have the right recipe to get it.

One of the things I have noticed when see people requesting Linux services
is that they sometimes expect a starving university student to arrive and
work miracles on their web server for $20/hour and a sandwich.  In the few
cases where I have sent potential clients to our people, we were blown out
of the water instantly when they noticed that we charge "real" consulting
rates. This has soured some in the company on accepting Linux business and
they see it is a really low-end market. This might not be exactly accurate
of the firm's stance but is basicly my perception.

My feeling on this is that they are looking at it the wrong way ... sure,
those that have until now used linux probably are not interested in paying
top dollar. As long as the consulting companies avoid Linux business, the
market is likely to stay that way.  The clients that will pay market rates
for Linux consulting services are not going to consider installing it
until Geek-Inc supports it.  It is a chicken/egg problem that the
consultants can act as a catalyst to change if they get involved.  The
market is not going to appear until the support does and consultants that
wait for a market are going to be left behind the proactive consultants
that gain the early market share.

For a firm that already has extensive business outside of Linux and has
some employees that are already comfortable in the Linux environment,
officially adding Linux support to the "line card" is a minimum risk and
by getting that in front of the customers, makes the decision to go with a
Linux/Apache web server a lot easier.  The fact that the support is there
will, over time, generate the business and the company has not invested a
lot of money.  

> Affiliations
> ------------
> Although the organization is geared towards hooking up the independent
> Debian consultants, I think some of us aren't so independent.  ie. some
> consultants already work for an ISP, or another consulting firm.
> What do people think about that?  I personally don't have that much of
> a problem with it.  Each consultant can have a link to the company they
> work for (if they work for one).

The folks I work with have shown little interest in formal Linux support
but I would certainly put a link to them as shops with Linux would
probably have other things that I personally do not support but they do.
Besides, they are a really great group of folks to work with.

As a matter of fact, why not treat firms and individual consultants alike
for the purposes of this organization? I mean, how about this being an
association that both firms could belong to and that could also act as an
umbrella under which the individuals could work to share resources and
standardize practices?  In other words, it could provide some of the
benefits of an economy of scale for the individuals while helping the
larger firms with a consistant marketing and pricing scructure. This works
particularly well for customers of a regional consultant that might have
facillities outside of that firm's coverage area.  This type of
cooperation would leverage the support into new areas that might otherwise
go untouched. Such a cooperative effort as this could stand to benefit
> I'm not really keen on having "corporate memberships" though.  That
> tends to muddify the marketing message, because then you sort of have
> to explain how the various companies are intertwined.  I'd prefer, for
> example, that a company that had four employees be represented by four
> individual consultant memberships (and four votes).  Then we can focus
> on marketing the skills of the individuals (not ignoring their
> affiliations).

This would sound reasonable to me.

> Perhaps we could even have consultants "on staff" that work for big
> companies like Cygnus and Netscape.  I suppose that those companies
> would have to buy into the concept first, of course - and use it as
> part of their marketing plan.

Yep! This is a major potential benefit to something like this.

Will look over the rest of it more carefully later.  In general, I like it
but one thing that comes through is that we need to decide exactly what it
is.  Is it a money-making entity in and of itself or is it an association
of independant consultants and firms cooperating to leverage a larger
market opportunity?  Are the consultants members, partners, or employees?

George Bonser

If I had a catchy quip, it would be here.

Debian/GNU Linux ... the maintainable operating system.

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