Two InitMarketing Customers Win Open Source Business Award

Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF) yesterday announced the winners of the Open Source Business Award. Two InitMarketing customers won prizes: todoyu won the 3rd prize (10k EUR) and OXID eSales shared the 1st prize (receiving 32.5k EUR).

OSBF annually awards innovative ideas, thought through concepts and promising business plans with the Open Source Business Award. It is being granted for innovative business ideas based on Open Source Software, which revolutionize the market and can set new standards.

Heise reports about the award in detail (German only).

A Year in Retrospect: InitMarketing in 2008

2008 was an exciting and very successful year.

I officially started my own business in February: InitMarketing, the open source marketing company. Ever since then, the InitMarketing customer base keeps growing. As of today, there are 15 paying customers including open source software vendors and associations, ranging from content management systems, e-shops to Linux distributions, from mega corporations to small start-ups. Some of them are in the FOSS business for several years, others recently started or even open sourced their formerly proprietary product. InitMarketing helped them with marketing strategy definition, community building, public relations, blog coaching, event management, creating product brochures, writing case studies and white papers and much more.

Revenues for 2008 clearly exceeded my expectations. We have been contracted for project-specific work as well as on a retainer basis. A good part of that money went to InitMarketing’s team members who have done an excellent job helping out with their special expertise on customer projects.

I am particularly proud of, because it is first of all a lot of fun to record the video interviews about Open Source marketing. Second, the videos provide real value to those who watch them much in the spirit of Open Source communites where expertise is being shared happily. Furthermore, video recording and editing has turned into a passion and I very much enjoy extending my prosumer skills.

The goals for InitMarketing in 2009 are to double our revenues, but given the world-wide economic downturn, I am clueless if we can make it. Honestly, I wish that those claims about Open Source software doing better during a recession turn out to be true. So far, I don’t have any reasons to not believe that this self-fullilling prophecy will fullfill itself.

There are positive signs: none of our customers face any economic problems yet. Some of them even performed better than projected during the second half of 2008 … but – you know – only the paranoid survive.

Given the overall economic climate and the general bad financial situation of the U.S., I don’t want to be overly optimistic. Nevertheless, the advantages of open source software over proprietary software in times of tight budgets are obvious. The only real problem are completely cut-down budgets…

Anyway, I wish you all a 2009 that can only become better than expected, right?

Video Interview with Stormy Peters, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation

I just published a video interview with Stormy which I recorded at OSiM in Berlin.

Stormy is Executive Director, GNOME Foundation, since July 2008. Working with the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and the GNOME Foundation members, she helps strengthening the Foundation by attracting new industry members and community contributors.

In this interview she talks about reaching consensus on marketing-related decisions with a community-driven project such as GNOME, how she plans to position GNOME, how to attract more donators, and more.

Find the interview Stormy Peters about Marketing GNOME at

Interview with Boris Kraft, CTO Magnolia

A video interview with Boris Kraft, CTO Magnolia, the Simple Open Source Content Management System, just got published on Boris discusses various aspects of marketing Magnolia.

Here’s an excerpt of the part I find most interesting:

Question: You’re building up the Magnolia office in New York. Is there a difference you realized between how to market your open source product in Europe compared to the US?

Boris Kraft: I think there are many differences. The expectations are different in the US, there are all these images we have in our heads about how the US economy works, about how the consumers are, and a lot of that is actually true. It’s much more hype, marketing is very very important, and the whole process is very fast, so it’s much more hype than substance – that’s my experience so far. So, coming from an European country – like Magnolia International sitting in Switzerland – this is a part where we typically have a very thoughtful way of doing things. We like to produce quality, and it takes longer, this is very difficult for us to deal with: To have this “Swiss mind set” and come to the US and basically clash with the “US mind set”. I kind of have to be there and say “we are the best, we are the greatest, we have everything tomorrow” whereas here we would say “yes, well, actually we can do this, yes” – you know, it’s a very different perception…

You can watch the interview highlights (4:44), the full interview (12:38), or read the transcript of the full interview.

Video Interviews about Open Source Marketing on - Open Source Marketing has just been launched! This is where InitMarketing will publish video interviews with key figures about marketing Open Source software. Currently, there are three interviews available:

  • Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative
  • Florian Effenberger, Co-lead Marketing Project
  • Oliver Nachtrab, former Product Manager, SUSE, Open-Xchange

More interviews will be published regularly, such as with Andrew Rodaway (Director of Marketing, Canonical), Fabrizio Capobianco (CEO, Funambol), Shane Martin Coughlan (FTF Coordinator, Free Software Foundation Europe), Stormy Peters (Executive Director, Gnome Foundation), Boris Kraft (CTO, Magnolia), and more.

Thanks to all interviewees for great insights and also to Wirawan Harianto for his design work!

Watch the video interviews about Open Source marketing.

Open Source Marketing Workshop at OSBF

For all of you in the German-speaking regions of Europe, OSBF will offer various talks related to marketing Open Source software. As a founding member of OSBF’s Open Source Sales & Marketing Group, I’ll present a two hours introductory workshop about Open Source marketing and will be available for Q&A afterwards.

Yet, the dates are not set and we are still collecting feedback from OSBF members on the topics.

OSBF members will not pay for attending the presentations, non-members will be charged EUR150.

InitMarketing Develops New Corporate Identity and Marketing Collaterals for YMC

It’s been quiet for a month on my Weblog due to still increasing demand for the services offered by InitMarketing. The more I am happy to be able to present some of the work we are doing for our clients.

In June, we started to work with YMC on what we labeled “marketing phase 1”. This project set out to build a completely new corporate design and identity. We re-defined the positioning and branding of YMC, re-launched their corporate website regarding visual appearance and content, created marketing collaterals and more.

About YMC

YMC is located in Switzerland. Their software is what we categorized as “Open Source Web 2.0 Content Management” and it is named Volano. Volano is based on eZ Publish and – you might have already guessed it – provides some cool Web 2.0 functionality on top of it. Volano itself is available under an Open Source license to YMC’s customers.

YMC provides support and services for Volano and currently focuses on the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). One major customer of YMC is Swiss Televsion SF where they use Volano for the website related to the daily news broadcast SF Tagesschau. A highly interesting implementation done by YMC is 029, a Web 2.0 portal where social travel booking takes place: A group of people can find the best package for joint holidays.

Corporate Design

Most of all, I am happy about the results achieved in creating a new corporate design for YMC. We started with the logo and then moved on to designing the website.

YMC new website

New YMC Website.

I especially do like the rings and the illustration used in the banner. The rings symbolize communities that sometimes overlap. The pieces of the rings sum up the individuals who are members of the community.

The illustration is great because it is a creative piece of art that is in sync with the banner’s claim that YMC combines spontaneity and quality in it’s Web 2.0 content management solution. Most importantly, the illustration highly differentiates YMC from other software companies, who tend to use stock photos of architectural buildings or even worse, of two business men shaking their hands.

The new corporate design also works well regarding booth designs, as this picture shows, taken at OpenExpo a few days ago:

YMC OpenExpo booth

YMC booth at OpenExpo 2008 (Credit: Andreas Heer).

The corporate design work also included the design of business cards, presentation slides, case studies, etc. and we are about to deliver the style guide to YMC.

Marketing Collaterals

We at InitMarketing assisted YMC in re-structuring and re-writing the content of to have it in sync with the more focused brand identity of YMC. We are currently in the proccess of coaching YMC when it comes to identifying and writing about thought leader topics on YMC’s corporate Weblog. Furthermore, we helped YMC in writing two case studies and delivered a case study template to them.

All this marketing work forms the basis for the public relations activities we just started for YMC.

InitMarketing Joins Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF)

InitMarketing is now a member of Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF). OSBF is a European-wide Open Source network founded by Richard Seibt of SUSE fame. The activities of the network focus on the business benefits of Open Source software. The members of OSBF are companies, institutions, VCs and persons inspired by open source software – all together over 120 to date.

There are plenty of useful working groups within OSBF, such as:

  • With the Open Source Business Award, OSBF annually awards innovative ideas, concepts and promising business plans.
  • The Campus Coaches provide member companies their diverse professional experience free of charge.
  • The COSAD working group develops best practice guidelines for OSS.
  • The OSBF Embedded project fosters the use of OSS, especially Linux in embedded systems.
  • Just recently, OSBF started a sales and marketing project that InitMarketing is a core member of.

In only two years since OSBF’s birth, it has established itself as probably the most important interest group for OSS businesses with a strong footprint in Germany and a growing attraction all over Europe.

InitMarketing Helps Magnolia Relaunch Website

In parallel with the new Magnolia 3.6 release, Magnolia International Ltd. also launched the new Magnolia website. InitMarketing helped Magnolia with re-structuring and re-writing the content.

The overarching goal was to make all existing information more comprehensible, thereby achieving better communication of the brand “Magnolia”. Furthermore, the new website includes more information beneficial to the Magnolia community such as the new Magnolia Newsletter.

Relaunched Magnolia Website

InitMarketing worked together with Swiss designer Andrea Heinzer for example on creating the front page banner. Andrea was in charge of designing the whole website and she obviously did a fantastic job.

InitMarketing is particularly proud that we achieved this milestone together with the folks at Magnolia and enjoyed working with them on the new website very much. The Magnolia ecosystem can expect some more good things to happen marketing-wise…