Do not underestimate the unboxing experience!
“I’ve got no idea if it’s any good at all but the unboxing felt good at any rate.” That’s what a colleague of mine told me about an application he installed and wanted to test.
That first impression is so important and I wonder what good it could do to focus on that for some Open Source projects.
Most Open Source projects are about software from developers for developers and don’t really matter much outside their world except for what developers make of it. However there are Open Source projects that aim at the end user.
A good example would be Linux. And it has to be said that the majority of its popularity happens within the same technical world it came from. With a few exceptions like Novel and Suse and some more who tried to make it a product that they advertised to the average user. Nowadays only Ubuntu seems to be a successful Linux selling machine (selling as in convincing people rather than making money).
Another thing that matters is the world of content management systems. One of the projects I think are most interesting is the Symfony CMF. It has an amazing scope and got a lot of traction now that end user CMSs like ez Published start to build on it.
Looking at its website though you clearly see that it aims at developers and like-minded techies.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a cool unboxing experience like a website that makes you experience the benefits of the product rather than offering you to read its documentation?
Of course such projects aren’t aimed to be sold for money and that’s a huge part of their appeal. But selling the idea can not be wrong right?
How about raising some money to hire a (tech savvy) PR company to build some small themed CMS/Website demos with it? One about travelling and another about news and so on.
What difference would this make?
Well probably none to developers you largely are not impressed by marketing at all. But developers often have managements to convince of their choice of technology and an easy unboxing experience could do the talking for them.
Would you agree?