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Living in a free world panel at Gilbane content solutions conference

Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to participate in the living in the free world panel at the Gilbane Content Solution conference. The panel was hosted by Joseph Bachana, the president of DPCI, and Acquia platinum partner. The panel included Jeremiah Owyang, the web content management analyst for Forester Research. I was also joined by Steve Kotrch, Director, Publishing Technology, Simon and Schuster who is real innovator in technology and publishing.

Joe started off the panel with a review of the different business models that make use of free products and services. He cited Dries's post on freemium business models as one of the reasons I was asked to join the panel.

Steve did a great job in discussing the challenges and opportunities free content brings to Simon and Schuster. A good example, was the use of DRM Advance Reviewer Copies of e-books, that publishers want to be widely distributed to bloggers and other reviewers to help market the book, but also to provide editorial review while the books are in production.

Jeremiah explained his restaurant model for services. The appetizer's like bread are free, entrees are paid for, and dessert is twice the price. He mapped those price points to his free analysis, his paid for reports, and his custom advisory services respectively. Jeremiah has begun covering Drupal in the last few years and that has allowed big enterprises, some of whom were in the audience, to hear about open source content solutions for the first time.

Jeremiah did a great job challenging the audience to brainstorm on the free business models of the future. Joe kept the pace vibrant and ensured the audience was asking good questions.

Flight to quality

I learned two important things from Steve and Jeremiah. I spoke about how rough the last six months had been and how much harder it was for customers to get new purchases approved. But Acquia and Drupal had really thrived in this environment because the projects using Drupal could still move forward without having to be held back by a purchasing barrier. I cited some analysis of Drupal job growth using indeed.com. The graph showed how with the recent economic constraints Drupal job growth had stayed strong. Steve informed me that this was the flight to quality. The graph below shows relative growth, you can also see absolute growth.

The future of the social web

Jeremiah indicated that he saw a new model emerging. He was seeing communities form first, then requirements were identified, and then the community would ask for the social tools they needed to be built at a price. This is the inverse of what we see today with a community starting around a blog like DailyKos, or online community at Ning, or fund raising application on Facebook, or #hashtag on Twitter. I am looking forward to seeing the first of these examples and learning more about the opportunities these inversions bring.

I'd like to thank Joseph Bachana for inviting me and I look forward to more panels with him in the future.


Posted on by Omer Altay (not verified).

WOW! That job trends chart is mind boggling. I knew drupal was big, but I never knew it was that big. The video about consumers wanting things for free is so true as well. It's hard to charge for content these days on the internet, so the advertising model seems to be the one everyone uses. I think a perfect example of this is (pr0n). Back in 2000 you had to pay for it, today you can find it free everywhere.

I'm a fan of Free MMORPG Games. I'm also a Libertarian Politically and my favorite CMS is Wordpress. Drupal is a close second.