[geeklog-devel] Geeklog Service offering

Tony Bibbs tony at tonybibbs.com
Fri Jan 10 10:02:07 EST 2003

Here's a few notes:

On Fri, 10 Jan 2003, Tom Willett wrote:

> First I am all for making money, else I would still be in bed.
> Some observations from a business perspective, some hard earned.
> I own my own software company and I charge all my customers $50 a month for 
> support and updates.  They are all small businesses and do not object as 
> long as I am quick to answer their concerns.  I have gotten several 
> customers from a rival because the rival would not respond to support 
> requests in a timely manner, even though I charge more for support.  So I 
> say if you are going after small and medium size businesses, you need 
> someone, somewhere to answer the phone!  The average small businessman is 
> impatient and will go insane if he/she cannot get in touch with someone now!

I would agree.  Initially I do not mind being some contact person but do 
you think you really need phone access right away?  I guess my opinion is 
to start wtih initial contacts via email (which is what the new list is 
for) until we have convinced ourselves that there is enough interest to 
justify offering a phone number.  Regardless, you are right.  Response to 
a first contct is imperative.

> You need a clearly defined cost structure.  It should not be that Tony 
> charges different than Dirk for the same service.

Yep.  What that would be I have no idea.  Anybody want to throw out some 
round numbers?  Here is my stab:

  - Just Geeklog: $50
  - Geeklog and any server components: $150
  - Some hourly rate.  I'd say $65/hr.  For modules I think you may be 
able to leverage multiple customers. In other words, if two business 
entitties want some sort of small scale CRM package, both could share the 
costs.  I think in most cases we should urge the customers to let us 
resell the modules OR offer them up for free (per the customers 
  - Conversions: I'd say we do them same rate for customizations.  However 
I think all conversions should be GPL'd as they all encourage people to 
migrate to Geeklog
   - This is tougher.  I'd have to do some homework on support structures 
for small software houses before I'd recommend anything.

> You also need a shell company set up to collect payments and handle 
> bookwork, scheduling and contracts.  And you object, but this is just a 
> little consulting project.  The small to medium businessman needs to know 
> that she can always conctact someone, if the person whom they dealt with 
> before is not available.  There needs to be some accountability, they will 
> not deal with an amorphous cloud of independents.  And for a job of any size 
> they will require a contract.
> Good fences make good neighbors.  There needs to be some ground rules -- 
> even contracts among participating developers to avoid conflict.  Who gets 
> paid if Tony makes the initial contact (and effectively seals the deal) and 
> I do the work?  Who gets first shot at a job?  How much of the income goes 
> back to the shell company and toward development of gl?

Agreed, just common sense. Only issue is what are the implications if you 
have international employees which will likely be the case.

> Be carefull about whom you crawl in business with.  All the contracts and 
> agreements will not work if there is not a basic trust among the 
> participants.

Trust me, I think we all would be with.  I think the initial goal should 
be to establish that this is viable.  If it is we can talk about how to 
better structure this.  I think there are a lot of other services we could 
get into once we prove this is viable such as hosting of GL only sites and 
some sort of GL Network (similar to RH network for getting updates).

> Some food for thought from an old fat man, still pursuing his dreams.

Ha!  Call me the pudgy 30-something guy persuing the open source wet dream 

Some of you other guys are curiously quite.  It's OK to hate the idea 
altogether...I would just like more feedback.


> --
> Tom Willett
> tomw at pigstye.net
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> http://lists.geeklog.net/listinfo/geeklog-devel

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