links for 2007-06-29

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Good clients/bad clients

General 7 Comments

A while back it seemed to be cool to talk about “firing your customers” if they were bad – that is, if they were not really clear on what they wanted, were asking you to change away from your core competencies to gain their contract, or were being very needy and impatient before (or after) signing a contract.

I’d love to hear about people’s reactions to this. Are there good clients and bad clients?

My own opinions are that if you’re in a position where you want to fire a client, someone hasn’t done their job right. Isn’t before-sales in a large part helping decode what the client wants, and explaining to him how your product/service fits into that picture? Isn’t the whole sales process supposed to be about figuring out if selling your products & services will be mutually beneficial?

Not going to LRL

openwengo 3 Comments

In spite of my best intentions, I won’t be going to Lug Radio Live this year to represent OpenWengo.

The official reason is that it’s only 2 weeks before the birth of our third child, and I can’t justify going away for a day & a half during a weekend that close to the “quick, call a taxi” date.

However the real reason is because I was afraid of all the abuse I would get from the LugRadio crowd – a taster of which I got from Stuart “Aq” Langridge upon hearing that I was cancelling:

Well then you are a useless Irish bastard and we are never going to speak to you again, you pig-holding arse.

Yes, that’s right, I am an arse that can hold a pig.

Thanks to Stuart for putting into my mind the image of two beautiful plump rosy bum-cheeks grabbing a poor defenseless squealing piglet. It’s enough to give you nightmares.

For all GNOME user groups wondering what to organise…

gnome, marketing 3 Comments

…Have a “Give a school a foot up” day on Software Freedom Day.

The idea: you go to your local university, and ask permission to have a stand during the day. You print out some posters, wear some team t-shirts, and go along with a few hundred LiveCDs.

During the day, you organise 2 hours of presentations in a lecture hall (one in the morning & one in the afternoon) where you just show off the software. Nothing whizz-bangy, just showing people that there’s an alternative to Windows (“Look! There is a clock & calendar at the top! And I can browse the web while writing a text document in two different fonts!”).

The hard part is getting back in touch with that Comp.Sci. professor that only gave you a C in AI 10 years ago. Go on, pick up the phone!

(post inspired by discussions with Fabrice Alphonso and Frank Alcantara, and the recent posts from BarCamp Chicago by Ken vanDine)

Update: In comments,  Andy Price gave some priceless advice (sorry, I couldn’t resist): Computer clubs have access to university facilities,can typically rustle up volunteers and do pre-event advertising for an event, and are usually delighted to have someone do some of the organisation for them. Help out the young ‘uns – they’re the community’s bone marrow.

links for 2007-06-22

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The challenges of the foundation business development hire

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For those who haven’t been paying attention, the GNOME Foundation is hiring. For the past few months (seems like years) we have been actively hunting for a director of business development – someone who will help us to open doors, do fundraising, and investigate partnerships that could generate revenues for the foundation.

It’s been a long road so far, and we’re still hunting. We don’t have the resources or the experience of the Mozilla Foundation (who are also hiring), and a big part of the job so far has been spreading the word and getting in contact with appropriate candidates for the role. As with any process, our requirements have varied over time.

One controversial element of the job is that since the Foundation is an American corporation, our director of bizdev should be able to work in the US. For posterity, here’s the current draft of the job description (which needs to be added to the foundation website somewhere, without doubt):

The GNOME Foundation is an organisation created to further the goal of the GNOME project: to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is completely free software.

In that role, we are looking for an individual to join us and define, implement and manage our business activities and partnerships, and fundraising activities, with the aim of generating revenue which will allow us to invest in the GNOME project and its needs. These business activities should remain consistent with the core principles of the GNOME community.

The ideal candidate will have experience with the IT industry in a business development role, will have experience defining their own agenda and working in a decentralised environment, and will understand the underlying principles and needs of a free software development community.

Interested candidates should send a résumé to

If anyone reading this can think of a great candidate that we might be interested in, then I’d love to hear about it. drop us a line.

links for 2007-06-18

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JLM 2007

marketing, openwengo 3 Comments

I got back to Lyon on Saturday evening after 3 days in Martigues (sun, sea, sand) and a quick trip to the “Journées du Libre à Montpellier” 2007 – a local conference organised by the ALL (Association des Logiciels Libres).

It was a very nice conference – apart from the small detail that they forgot me. Well, all’s well that ends well.

I had a nice meal & conversation on Friday evening with some members of the association (lightning struck twice – I was forgotten again) and other invited guests (who weren’t forgotten).

I was especially impressed by the president of the association, who is a fan of martial arts – he is a 1st dan black belt in Aikido and Kendo (which is his favourite) as well as having skillz in jujitsu and judo.

So I forgave him for forgetting me.

I learned the difference between a “jitsu” (dangerous) and a “do” (less dangerous).

For example, “Kenjitsu” was the art of sabre fighting, “Kendo” is the art of fighting with bamboo sticks. “Jujitsu” is a vicious fighting style with kicks, punches, chokes & holds, and “judo” just keeps the holds.

On Saturday, I caught up with Frédéric Couchet and Pascal Chevreul, from APRIL and Mozilla respectively, and saw Richard Stallman give a presentation on free software in French.

I was also very pleased to meet Thierry Stoer from for the first time, after several email conversations.

My presentation of the WengoPhone in the demo space attracted a nice crowd and went pretty well – VoIP is a big topic at the moment and lots of people wanted to know how to hook their home Asterisk up to the Wengo service, or how to make video calls. A nice feature people seemed interested in was the file transfer (which is funny, since it’s not one of those features I use a lot, or consider important) and having a real phone number for people to call you on your VoIP phone.

The presentation afterwards got a lot more attention that me – someone showed off all of the free software games that are available these days, from Neverball and X-Moto through FPS games and flight sims, and brought people up from the crowd to show off. Good fun.

After my presentation I gave a short interview with FreeNews and Divergence FM, media partners for the event. I’ll post links when they have it online.

links for 2007-06-16

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links for 2007-06-15

General Comments Off on links for 2007-06-15

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