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

Stephen Woodbridge woodbri at swoodbridge.com
Sat Apr 21 20:35:50 PDT 2012

Hi All,

I think there are lots of ways to be an "Ambassador". The issue is that 
different people have different skills and comfort levels in how they 
approach the role. For example, I am comfortable "pushing" OSGeo 
projects that I work with and recommending that clients use them and 
discuss the benefits of them. These are all tools that I am familiar 
with and can help my clients use. If they have needs outside my 
expertise, I am happy to suggest they look at other OSGeo projects if 
they seem to fit the clients needs. I discuss OpenSource and the value 
of them contributing to projects if they need additional feature. I'm 
also on various PSC's which gives the client a feeling that they have 
access directly to the project through me.

In my mind this is being an "Ambassador", but there are other ways to be 
an "Ambassador". Some people are great at making presentation and 
standing in front of an audience like at FOSS4G, other are more 
comfortable in a one-on-one situation.

I think one thing that would help is to identify the key messages that 
we, OSGeo, would like to get across to people when we talk about OSGeo. 
Key messages are like the 5 key points that we would like to be 
consistently mentioned by everyone when talking about OSGeo. These are 
simple easy to remember sentences. These could/should be used in every 
presentation, where formal or informal. It is the repetition of these 
messages that helps to establish a brand/mental image of OSGeo and 
reinforces it through hearing it via multiple communication channels and 
people. It takes repetition and consistency for people to hear and 
remember and believe a message.


On 4/21/2012 5:28 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Brian,
> Some good points to think about here. Am I right in summarising your
> points as:
> "Charter members mostly consists of coders, and coders mostly are not
> good at marketing, and as such we shouldn't be looking to them to be our
> ambassadors?"
> Have you got a better idea for how we find our Ambassadors?
> One thing I suggest that has been working for us is that we have been
> helping with the presentation of OSGeo principles, by creating slides
> which anyone is allowed to present (starting with the OSGeo-Live
> presentation):
> https://svn.osgeo.org/osgeo/livedvd/promo/trunk/en/presentation/
> If there are other characteristics and key messages that we should be
> arming new Ambassadors with, then maybe we can build them into a wiki,
> and maybe even have a workshop at foss4g events where ambassadors can
> share ideas about effective marketing techniques?
> On 22/04/2012 2:40 AM, maplabs at light42.com wrote:
>> 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..
>> /missive
>> --
>> Brian Hamlin
>> GeoCal
>> OSGeo California Chapter
>> 415-717-4462 cell
>> _______________________________________________
>> Board mailing list
>> Board at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board

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