Anyone who has read this blog previously knows I'm a huge fan of Redmonk Radio. I am woefully behind on podcast listening - my podcasts folder is about as bad as my need-to-read research folder while I wait for someone to send me a free iPod - but I just got through Episode 10 on "Adobe Live, DRM, Freemium, JavaOne, Predictions".
The title might not advertise it, but this is actually a great redux discussion on open source business models and the freemium concept. This is a great, if indirect, listen for anyone who needs to understand how open and free models actually increase the value of your core offering, rather than cannabalize it. In particular, I liked Cote's comments on the idea that in the world of services and information (arguably even physical products) ultimately you are paying for a relationship - there are just different variations of how the contract and license are structured. But the relationship holds the real compensatory value. Open source is often discussed in the context of software licensing, here Redmonk discusses it in the context of open source analysis. But the concepts and model are much more generally applicable - call it OS-* ...
This listen came at a great time for me as I had just read this article on long tail-ish thoughts. I don't quite know where I'm going with my own mash of these thoughts, but my mind is churning.
In large companies, there is still often a hold-it-close mindset even within the walls - information sharing should happen a lot more than it actually does. The RMR conversation has great applicability here, because you should share freely whatever you can in order to more quickly get to the true value of your services and skills. I'm also hot on the centralization topic lately - this is a very natural tendency of many EAs and many corporate IS groups, but it's not automatically the right idea. It's enterprisey and all that, but EAs should actually be scouring their organizations for hidden long tails.
The real value of EA should be building services and infrastructure to enable the smallest and most agile business processes imaginable, not building behemoths.