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Re: website: say what Guix is at the very top

From: George myglc2 Clemmer
Subject: Re: website: say what Guix is at the very top
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 01:09:44 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)

On 01/17/2018 at 18:30 Ricardo Wurmus writes:

> Hi Guix,
> on the website it starts right away with a list of features:
> “Liberating”, “Dependable”, and “Hackable”.  But what is this thing
> called Guix?
> We should add a very short paragraph above that list to say what Guix
> and GuixSD are.
> What do you think?

Hi Ricardo,

Yes we should. We need a title too. But before we can get to those we
need a discussion.  Why?  Because the "Guix-verse" needs to grapple with
the surprisingly difficult challenge that every successful new
technology or software startup faces: Stepping away from technical
complexity and internal detail and describing what the product does and
the distinguishing features that will cause customers to buy it.

The first step is to accept that when a person selects our "product", no
matter how novel we feel it is, 99% of the time they are substituting it
for the product(s) they would otherwise buy.

While users may not pay money for our software, terms like customer,
buy, and substitute help us keep sight of the fact that our users do pay
for Guix by investing in discovering, understanding, installing and
using it instead of something else, free or otherwise. We must figure
out how to get our users to make those investments to be successful.

At the moment, if a potential user asks, "What is the Guix-verse?" We
might reasonably say: Well it has some parts ...

A) The GuixSD GNU/Linux distro, which is better than other distros
   because ... , and

B) The Guix package manager, which is cooler than other package
   managers because ... and by the way, Guix comes with GuixSD, and

C) A custom personal software bubble maker that comes with both A) or
   B), and

D) A puncher of custom QEMU VMs and Docker containers that comes with
   both A) and B) also, and

E) Source you can download to easily build your own custom personal
   packages, distros, bubbles, or punchers with total artistic control,
   or, you can, we hope, help us make guix better."

Listening to this our prospect might reasonably respond ...

1) TMI, I'm out of here! , or

2) Sounds like you have multiple personality disorder, or

3) Come back when you know what you are selling, or

4) I might be interested, maybe I will come back when I have more time,

5) I think I understand. I may need part X.

Next they will ask us, "who is buying it?" To which we might reasonably

a) guile hackers with libreboot notebooks

c) emacs nuts

b) technodudes looking for the next whacky distro

d) HPC cluster managers that want to give users more freedom

e) Renegade Bioinformatic researchers attempting to get work done in
   spite of archaic CentOS releases

f) We are not actually sure who will buy it

So to summarize, we don't yet know how to describe what we are selling
or who will buy it. Our website reflects our confusion: We don't clearly
say there are multiple products and what they are. Instead of "selling"
the "mature" guix we park it at the bottom of the page. We focus on
GuixSD, never mentioning that it is in beta. We're not sure which
features are most important so we list them all.  The net effect is that
if someone says "Yes!" and clicks download they will next say, "HUH, I
didn't realize I have to choose between 2 things!  And why is the thing
they pitched hardest in beta!"

There are standard ways to help an organization like ours move toward
marketing clarity and sales success. Here are some:

The recommended approach is to pick a single product and focus all
energy on that. Then find people that are about to buy a something for
which they can substitute the product, and talk to them about it.

Our immediate challenge is that we seem to think we have at least two
products. We need to decide if we really have multiple products and, if
we do, how many and what they are. Then we must clearly separate them
and make it easy for potential customers to determine which one they
might use.

Then we need a "good sales message" for each product. The prototypical
sales message for a successful product follows an outline like this:

Introducing <product> - the first <product category> designed to <unique
way product attribute> that addresses the six key problems faced by <who
buys it?>:


I suggest that a sales message along these lines is the "very short
paragraph" you want.

- George

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