Open Source us
What is the Open Source Movement? It originated in the software industry around 1998, when developers started to dislike proprietary systems and gathered online to write “Open Source” software (e.g. Linux, Mozilla). Open Source combines the elements of collaborative development, individual contributions from a wide range of individuals, and the free access to anyone. The movement tries to bring the best minds together on a global scale in developing a particular solution and demands that the outcome is shared without any fee with as many people as possible.
Since its beginning stage, the concept of “Open Source” has aggressively moved beyond software applications. Great examples are Wikipedia (Free Online Encyclopedia), Google’s free software applications like Google Earth, or the tremendous free picture and video libraries of any of the major Web Portals. Now it’s less about building better software than Microsoft as it is about building platforms enabling individuals to create and provide relevant content for a much larger audience.
Over the next years this Open Source movement will further penetrate consumer marketing and influence strongly many value aspects of the marketing services industry. The proprietary value notion of any marketing service provider will be challenged. I believe that three key elements of marketing will become more and more open source:
- Data - The foundation of any communication is “Information”, which is nothing else than interpreted data. This Information is more and more readily available, 24/7, free, and can be combined with any other Information to provide even richer Information. Think “Craigslist” on top of Google Earth, think Real Estate Information connected with household specific value indicators (Zillow.com)
- Ideas - Google, Yahoo!, and any other aggregator of created Content (either by individuals or corporations) enable our access to billions of Ideas. The nature of proprietary ideas and concepts will be challenged by the ubiquity of any kind of ideas, most of them boring, but some of them very interesting.
- Applications - Proprietary software are under heavy attack by multitudes of open source projects (Sourgeforge.net counts more than ten thousand open source projects). Look at the Open Source statistical software package R that matches proprietary software applications like SPSS or SAS.
This will lead to a democratization and proliferation of information and software applications that will fundamentally change any aspect of the so often “proprietary” marketing industry. The chance for us marketers lies in the opportunity to utilize and combine all three areas of open source to build smarter insight driven marketing solutions, all for the benefit of the customer.