[OSGeo-Discuss] Re: Defining an OSGeo Ambassador role

maplabs at light42.com maplabs at light42.com
Sat Apr 21 09:40:13 PDT 2012

All - 

    I speak out bluntly with the best intentions,
so please take my comments with a bit of healthy sceptiscism.. 

  this discussion is naive, and has a lot of wishful thinking in it.. 
Charter Members of OSGeo are by and large coders.. coders are an odd lot
and certainly not always gregarious and outgoing.. 

  Moreover, after 20+ professional years here in Silicon Valley and Bay Area, 
I can tell you that the relationship between marketing (yes the M word) and
engineering has always been one of strange bedfellows at the least, and
filled with mutual distrust and antagonism at worst. OSGeo is a volunteer
corps of to-the-bone engineers, really. 

  Marketing the M word, leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many techies,
for some good reasons.. You can easily characterize the marketers as
superficial, flighty and opportunistic, lacking loyalty, lacking depth of 
knowledge, manipulative, etc.. 

  Yet lets talk about the real qualities of the substrata of marketing,
then back to the question at hand.. 

  We live in an age of insane abundance.. First the industrial system
started producing more widgets than anyone could use, so modern
marketing was invented to "create demand" for the huge volumes of
industrial products available..  The green revolution doubled 
and doubled again agricultural output in many parts of the world. So
packaging and branding of processed foods became a big business
with marketing brands along with it.. Now software.. do I have to 
describe the insane abundance's associated with modern sfwr ?
Probably not.. 

  SO how do people "choose" among all this insane abundance?
They develop a brand impression, and then brand trust. Related 
goods and services come out under a brand, and a user/consumer
can make a better, smaller incremental decision instead of a huge
decision, to try, then perhaps adopt, a good or service.. 

 Another marketing function - to faciliate delivery ... In the world at large,
it takes a chain of responsibility and actions, and usually money,
to pass along goods (somewhat services) from origin to destination. 
Marketing builds these channels as well.. the people who are making
a decision to invest in this brand as a facilitator of business.. a middleman,
a banker, a local govt, etc all have to decide that this brand is ok and 
worth committing to some process, and then see it pass through, to 
users of the good and service.. usually for a profit, too

 So what is an OSGeo Ambassador ?  Someone who in the middle of
the new circumstances of a software on the Internet, builds the brand,
develops relationships and facilitates delivery. 

  "All OSGeo Charter Members should be doing this"
Well sure, to some extent. but it is naive to believe that the functions could
be done *well*, and *as much as they are needed* by an ad hoc group
of engineers. 

  I think I have laid out the basis of the argument here... I will throw in 
one more thing.. That is, that at the end of the day, an Ambassador 
has to be able to build BRAND AWARENESS, TRUST and CONFIDENCE. 

  It is trust and confidence that make the content of the OSGeo 
branded engineering carry through individuals, to their organizations. 
All those three-ring binders, color glossies, "commercials", coffee
mugs and pens, white papers, awards, events, news articles etc etc
are part of building awareness then trust and confidence. 

  It takes concerted effort, planning and execution to do these things 
well.. I have heard some say at times that OSGeo should do none of 
these.. well thats one opinion. There are other opinions.. 


Brian Hamlin
OSGeo California Chapter
415-717-4462 cell

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