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What We Need is a Posse

Call it what you want: band, bevy, corps, covey, gang, horde, mob, squad, swarm, team, troop, troupe. I think "POSSE" is a perfect moniker for what is needed to drive Linux/OSS adoption in the SMB market.

I am fresh off a session at OSDL's workgroup meeting in Portland, Oregon. It was great to sit in a room of like minded people to discuss the business challenges facing consultants and integrators that are selling Open Source solutions into the SMB market.

An interesting group, the Portland Open Source Software Entrepreneurs (POSSE) offered some great insight into how they are collaborating to disrupt the deployment of proprietary solutions in the SMB market here in the Portland area. It was refreshing to see the community model applied to business strategy. Typically the community paradigm works well for developers, but once you advance to sales and marketing, it gets dicey. This group actually supports one another, even though there are times when they are in a competitive situation.

Wouldn't it be nice to have this type of community replicated across metropolitan areas around the US/World? Anyone that sells into the SMB space knows that a local relationship with the buyer can be so important. Having a group of Open Source evangelists that deploy solutions in our market is an essential component necessary for Linux and OSS to penetrate this highly distributed and diverse market.

A tip of the hat to OSDL for broadening their perspective of "enterprise." For more on this group, check out www.possepdx.org and let me know what you think.

Paula Hunter is the Vice President of US Marketing for Collax, Inc., a company that is selling a turn-key software solution that competes with MS Server offerings. Her last gig was Marketing and Business Development director at OSDL, and a while back she was the general manager of UnitedLinux.

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