Talking Points for Fedora 13 – Come lend a hand!

Greetings all,

The call for participation on Fedora 13′s Talking Points is out, and the Marketing team is looking for your feedback and contributions.

If the email notice slipped by you, you can read about it the marketing mailing list archives.

Short version: Marketing has a Talking Points SOP where we’ve written up the process for how talking points are selected, discussed, narrowed down, and announced for each Fedora cycle. The proposed talking points for F13 are posted for comment and feedback here, and after the list is finalized they will be located at that same link.

So get out your wiki fingers, hop on to the Fedora 13 Talking Points page and make sure we’re not missing anything! We welcome your feedback.  We’ll be narrowing down the list to the final version at the marketing meeting on February 23rd.

Also: It’s the weekend. Woot!

Trac, Strategic Planning, and a Book Club!

I do have a part two to my thoughts on goals and target audience coming.  (And probably a part three, to respond a bit to what Greg and Paul wrote yesterday.)  In fact, I already have it written, I just need to edit it a little and actually POST it, which I’m going to do shortly.

But all this other awesomeness keeps getting in the way.

First: Marketing trac tickets! We’re trying to get in the habit of using Trac to keep track of the marketing team’s requests and deliverables.  I’m sure everyone knows that John Poelstra has a totally amazing schedule built out, so I’ve taken the Marketing portion of the deliverables and created tickets for each item.   (And if you haven’t seen the Master Plan before, it’s mind-bogglingly cool, so I recommend you check it out sometime!)  BUT HERE IS WHERE IT GETS AWESOME.  Well, if you’re me.  I actually went in a built a custom query for active tickets with F13 milestones.  Yes, I realize this is probably a cakewalk for some most probably everyone but me, but please indulge me in the OH YEAH I FIGURED IT OUT glory that follows. (It actually only took me a few minutes – Trac provides a bunch of pre-built queries that can be copied and edited fairly easily, even if the last coding you did was building a webpage in 1998…and your name is Robyn. :D Woot!)

Second: While on wikipedia today, I wandered on to one of their “come help wikipedia do xyz” banners, because it had the magic words that totally get my attention: Strategic Planning.  And holy moly, the Wikimedia Strategic Planning site is chock full of goodness and things to think about and I’m only on the tip of the iceberg in terms of reading it.  What it is about, in short, is (and I’m quoting directly from their page): “This is the workspace and community-gathering point for developing a five-year (2010–2015) strategic plan for the Wikimedia movement. (See background for more on this process.) The goal is to explore where we are nowwhere we should go, and how we should get there.”  Their strategic planning process page is particularly interesting and I really encourage everyone to take a look at it.  I’ll also plug Fedora’s own fabulous Strategic Working Group (yay!) and say that I hope everyone is reading about what they are discussing in their meetings since it’s mondo-important stuff.  I also saw that John put together a wiki page on the importance of strategy, which is also worth your eyeball time!  Kudos to all. And cookies. Or bacon, if you prefer.

And last, but not least: After Greg’s reference yesterday to the book The Starfish and The Spider in his blog, I remembered that… once upon a time… in the midst of the holiday season… Mel Chua and I once talked about having a marketing book club, since we all have our own favorite informational books we’ve read that relate to marketing, branding, business, and the like.  And then, I probably had to go wrap presents, or shovel snow, or drive around to see 8 billion relatives, and the idea was lost. But only temporarily!

I’ve set up a book club wiki page – it’s not just for marketeers, but for anyone who wants to join in.  I’m hoping to start with our first book in March, so if you have any ideas, please contribute to the wiki page, or keep an eye on the fedora marketing mailing list for further announcements. It’s going to be a good time!

Limesurvey and market research…

As some of you know, I’ve been sort of spear-heading the task of doing research in the Fedora Marketing group.  In the near future, I’m hoping to have a general Fedora end-user survey, focusing on things like demographics (who are you?), usage (what are you doing with Fedora?), satisfaction levels, and so forth.  In the slightly more distant future, I’d love to be working with individual teams and projects to deploy their own surveys, allowing teams to get more information from their communities and – important! – not to have to pay for it.

Limesurvey is the software piece the marketing team is planning on using.  It is a free, open-source application, which, from what I’ve seen so far, has great capabilities and flexibility.  You may have already seen it in action when we did the FUDCon Toronto survey. Unfortunately, at the time of that survey we didn’t yet have it deployed on fp.o infrastructure – so we had to pay a very small fee to accommodate all of the respondents.  (But that’s okay – I know the money was going to support their awesome project, so it works out.)

In the future, though, I’d love for Fedora to be able to host their own Limesurvey app.  And by future, I mean, REALLY SOON.  I think it is a really great way to get anonymous, USEFUL information back from our community, which all goes towards the bottom line of making great things even greater.

And so, friends in the community, I call upon you.  I’m not going to lie: Despite having been a sysadmin…. about 10 years ago… packaging is not my strength (that’s putting it lightly).  There are a number of packages that need to be… packaged, built, reviewed, you get the picture. The list is here.

I realize that everyone is swamped right now, but if even a handful of community members could each take on one thing from this list, it would be SUPERAMAZINGHELPFUL to Marketing, and in particular, myself, since I’d love to get moving on more research as soon as I can.  If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a line to the fedora-mktg mailing list!

PS. According to my research results, y’all are totally awesome. :)

Robyn’s Morning Roundup!

It seems I have a lot to write about today – but I figured I’d start off the morning (errrr. it’s almost lunch time!) with a few things I wanted to highlight:

  • Linux Symposium! The Call for Papers/Participation is out. It will be back in Ottawa this year after being in Montreal last year.  This is an excellent event (both in terms of content quality and fun quality) and I hope to see lots of Fedora people there. (No, I won’t be presenting; I’ve helped out with editing the proceedings the past 2 years and will be tagging along with the BF if his paper is accepted, *fingers crossed*.)
  • Data DUH of the week: A new research report from IDC. As a former research analyst, I still keep up on this stuff.  They have a new report out, “The State of Social Business…” – and the press release has this amazing title: “Social Business Goes Mainstream in the Enterprise, Forcing Cultural and Process Shifts from the Inside Out, IDC Research Finds.”  This, apparently, is in case you are from the planet JUPITER and just arrived on Earth.
  • Notable: I feel like there was something else I wanted to call out, but my brain isn’t exactly on the ball this morning (something about slipping on a sheet of ice in my driveway, while holding a 6-pack of pepsi, and being in paaaaaaaain.)  On the plus side: it’s still technically morning, so it’s entirely possible my brain will be back in working order soon.

Marketing FAD 2010 – Ready to RUMMMMMMMMMMMBLE

(No, Michael Buffer won’t be in attendance. Although that would be pretty sweet, since we’re doing some audio and video production.)

In today’s marketing team meeting, we finalized the schedule and list of deliverables for the upcoming Marketing FAD in Raleigh, March 13 – 16.  I’m toooooooootally excited about all the stuff we are planning on getting done.  We’ve got 4 days blocked off for some serious marketing butt-kicking.

  • Day 1: Research and Strategy Day.  Using this day to go over market research results from our upcoming Fedora survey — if we can get some help getting limesurvey up and running, that is (yes, I’m asking for help again with packaging!). I’m also confident that the Fedora Target Audience topic will be solidified by this time (thanks Board!) – and with that information, we can go forth and put together a solid Marketing plan, and goals for marketing – both short-term and long-term.  Along the way, I’m hoping to give a crash course in how limesurvey works – and if I don’t have time that day, we’ll be sure to do a Fedora Classroom session on it.  (Actually, that’s not a bad idea anyway. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Page 489 ;D)
  • Day 2: Branding Day! We’re going to be spending the day looking through other brand books, talking with some brand folks from RH, and coming up with some solid branding guidelines – look and feel, standard fonts, colors, that kind of thing.  The goal here is to make sure that we’re all coming across with a consistent look – not to mention, reducing the load off of people who want things to look -nice-, but don’t want to spend all their time doing it.  Getting some open office templates out there and ready to use for people will really help with this.
  • Day 3: Interviews and Filming.  We’ll be using this day for capturing wonderful things and people on film – moving or still – and also audio recordings.  We want to kick off the podcast interview chain, come up with, and i quote, a “massive amount of B-roll ready footage” (I had to actually look up b-roll) …. and maybe knock out some of the Feature Profile interviews / videos for F13.  Woot!
  • Day 4: PR Day.  This day looks like it’s going to be jam-packed with funstuffs and people. Some crash courses in PR, coming up with a new, shiny, and possibly real-life-instead-of-electronic Press Kit, a concrete deliverables schedule for marketing content that addresses multiple audiences, and planning Fedora’s presence at the Red Hat Summit. (Don’t forget to do your proposals / fill out the CFP!)

So, yeah, as you can see…. a TOTALLY RELAXING TIME in Raleigh.  No, I’m kidding.  But I think we are going to have a great time and get a TON O STUFF done, which is awesome, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone there! (Except for rrix. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the airport in Phoenix to fly to Raleigh!)

And for those who can’t make it – we’ll be broadcasting, LIVE, from IRC, on #fedora-mktg (or maybe #mktg-fad…. I guess that’s something to decide!) and would love participation.  And if you’re planning on being in Raleigh (or, perhaps, not planning on leaving Raleigh) during those dates – feel free to come on by and contribute.  Meeting room is not booked yet, but I’m sure you’ll be able to detect and follow the large vibes of energy  :)

Also: We’re soliciting any Brand Books you have around for our perusal / brainstorming purposes.  If you collect that type of thing, ping us on the marketing mailing list so we can coordinate some sort of book-sharing-going-on.  Also soliciting ideas for eating places (nom nom nom), we like to eat, and stuff.

An overdue post on Fedora’s target audience

I’m overdue. I’m way past due.  I promised poelcat a while ago that I’d post my thoughts on Fedora’s target audience; since then, I’ve been sidetracked by a little thing called nature, who, in addition to bringing me the mother of all storms to arizona this week, also granted me a long, exciting, early spring break spent indoors with the kids! Part of it sans internet! (That’s french for, “I didn’t get a whole lot done this week besides shoveling,” folks.)

And so, without any more procrastinating further ado, here is Part One (of two parts) of my thoughts on the “Fedora’s Target Audience” topic.  (Okay. A slight bit of further ado:  As a member of Fedora’s marketing team, knowing who the Target Audience is is -reallllly important-.  It’s nice to know who we should be marketing to; do we focus on “the whole universe,” “anyone who has a pulse,” or do we drill down and target specific user types, niches for potential community members, etc?  These are the things that keep marketeers up at night. Well, that, and watching all of season 3 of battlestar galactica on Blu-Ray in one night.)

In my (very short) number of years in Marketing, I have generally seen products evolve in the one of the two following fashions:

(a) There is a product group, and one is expected to come up with a new product that fits within the domain of the product group.  For example, I was in the embedded group at a Very Big processor company, and strategic marketing was expected to find new niches to put processors in, or find niches where other processor architectures were used, and figure out how we could get a processor in there.  Along the way, we had to make sure that this was going to -make money-.

(b) There is a company, and some dude, 28 layers above where you are at, who -obviously- knows better than you, says, “We are missing a toy product for the 13-18 year old females market! Go make one!” … at which point, one would say, well, obviously we need to do something with a vampire theme, and goshdarnit, we really need to hire that guy from that Twilight movie to market the product.  To -make money.-

Fedora, as I pointed out to poelcat and mchua the other day on IRC, sits in a very unique position that differentiates it from a typical producer of software (applications or operating systems).  The two defining items are:

1) Fedora does not have to “make money.”

2)  Fedora does not have someone sitting at the top saying, “go make me a new toy…. you figure out the market, and how much we’ll make, but I know we need a toy to round out the portfolio.”

And so, in my opinion, poelcat, in his epic journey to define Fedora’s target market, is really facing a “chicken and the egg”-type situation.  And this is why:

Target audiences are generally defined by what the end goal is.   But, Fedora doesn’t necessarily have an “end goal” – because Fedora is not expected to “make money.”  Now, I suspect that Fedora is expected to product a quality product by Red Hat and its many other fabulous sponsors. Occasionally, end goals are defined by target audiences (see Vampires example above), but even then, there is someone, somewhere, saying, GO FORTH AND DO!

But there is no man behind the curtain at Fedora.  The transparent, community-oriented nature of Fedora obviously ensure that this happens. Fedora has a mission, and Values, and a fabulous community, butwe have no TARGET AUDIENCE specifically defined, and we have no GOALS, at least as far as a list of things we wanted to accomplish in the short term, or long term, to get us from point A, to point B… or even a vague definition of where we are right now (point A), and what Point B might be.  In essence, right now, Fedora’s goal is to “be the best that we can be,” in order to address a target audience that we are currently, I suspect, somewhat in the dark about the current state of, and completely undefined as to who we would like that audience to be in the future.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I had ever written on my list of “yearly objectives” for work that I was going to “be all that I could be” (my apologies to the US Army marketing department) I would have been laughed at.  Being all that you can be is, in most circles, just expected; it is also completely unmeasurable.  How do you know when you’re the best that you can be? And what do you do then?

Goals are important.  Not only do they allow an individual or a group to say, “Look! We made it!” and get some sense of self-satisfaction from what they’re working on, knowing they accomplished something; they also offer a way to measure how we’re getting from point a to point b.

To me, the Target Audience question goes hand-in-hand with setting goals; and in fact, I might even argue that perhaps setting goals might be a better place to start, so that we might be able to define who the Target Audience is, who will, in turn, lead us to those goals.