There are many reasons to pine for the days of being a large, established software vendor. And then there is the fun of disrupting the ground out from beneath the feet of such vendors. It's great to have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
That was my thought when Roy Russo of Loopfuse (open source marketing and sales automation) sent me an update on its pricing/product plans. Some of the policies Loopfuse is rolling out will need to be amended as the company grows (like the lack of a contract to engage services). So, will Loopfuse become the kind of company that someone else will one day enjoy disrupting?
Still, in the meantime, wouldn't you enjoy poking the competition in the eye with these?
- No contracts. No setup fees. To anyone who has ever been sprinting toward a deal only to have it die with Legal or Purchasing, this sounds like a great approach.
- Ease-of-use. I know from my work with Loopfuse as an advisor that the service is very easy to use. I'm told that one recent Loopfuse customer defected from its proprietary demand generation vendor because it cost $90,000 and six months to get the service working. The same customer had better results with Loopfuse in three months for $5,000.
- Open and fully-functional self-service trials. No one else does this in the sales and marketing automation market does this. Loopfuse evaluations can be converted to full production use for as little as $99.95/month.
It's possible that Loopfuse will need to "grow up" and become stodgy, conservative, and expensive in its old age. But maybe not. Google has built a massive business by one-click enabling hordes of small advertisers (Adwords) and websites (through Adsense). True, Google also does large-scale contracts with major advertisers and advertising outlets, but it seems like one can get quite far by breaking the old rules, and creating new ones.
All of which makes me wonder, again, whether open-source software will become like the world it is replacing. Roy and Tom of Loopfuse enjoy playing the disruption card, but someday they'll be the ones being disrupted.
I wonder what that disruption will look like? How do you outdo free and easy? I'm not sure, but someone will figure it out.
Disclosure: I am an advisor to Loopfuse.