Recently I was fortunate to interview Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired and the keynote speaker for the Open Source Think Tank, coming up February 7-9 in Napa Valley, Calif. Given Chris' views, I think he's an ideal person to headline an event whose theme is "The Future of Commercial Open Source." (While attendance is by invitation only, you can still apply for admittance.)
Everyone has heard about Chris Anderson's article, book, and blog, The Long Tail. If you haven't, you don't live on this planet (not that there's anything wrong with that). Anderson's theory--that there is big opportunity in lots of little markets--resonates in a world whose technology increasingly permits, encourages, and even requires that we move beyond mass market product development to cater to individual tastes.
As Chris put it in his original Wired article:
For too long we've been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. Many of our assumptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching--a market response to inefficient distribution.
Free products (or, at least, their discovery) from the physical world, however, and the economics of consumption change. Dramatically.
I spent some time talking with Chris to see how his theory applies to open source. His ideas pushed me to re-examine my own, as my thoughts on how the Long Tail would apply to open source turned out to be a bit naive...… Read more