Sunday, July 29, 2007
Why the tech media doesn't get open source
Alex provides insight into Why the tech media doesn't get open source which for the most part I agree but feel he could have also addressed the below considerations:
- Tech Media has less separation between coverage and advertising: Consider the fact that advertising revenues tend to drive more of the coverage of products than anything else. If open source projects don't advertise then they don't get coverage. In the newspaper industry, reporters are not shadowed by advertising sales executives yet if a software vendor in the technology industry wants to talk with Gartner, they are shadowed by a salesperson
- Coverage needs to be bi-directional: Alex mentions the need for proactive outreach yet doesn't discuss why the media can't reach in and are heavily dependent on being spoonfed information. Like crack addicts, maybe they need to break the habit. For example, if the media wanted to coverage Liferay Enterprise Portal and wanted to know which Fortune enterprises are using it, instead of sitting on their butts waiting for an official response, they could simply log into the listserv and pay close attention to the fact that the from address field may contact well known domains of Fortune enterprises
- Industry Analysts are the Media: Many analysts attempt to describe their value proposition in a way that is disconnected from the media but in all reality, no one truly believes it. From the perspective of a software vendor, industry analysts are the media where the sole goal is to get quoted. Industry analysts believe their value proposition is more than just quotes and customer leads but do software vendors? If analysts are frequently quoted by the media, how come they aren't proactively outreaching as well?
- Maybe they shouldn't cover open source at all: Open Source really shouldn't be thought about as product choices as this is degrading to the real value proposition. When I speak at conferences (borrowed from Doc), I ask folks to explain which story is easier to tell? The story told by a well-dressed sales executive and all the wonderful things they do for their clients or the story of the poorly dressed developer employed by a large enterprise and all the wonderful things they do for themselves but usually aren't allowed to talk about it due to media relations policies. Maybe the media should start telling the harder story...
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