Robby (Cowboy VC) & Tim (Essence VC)
Developer Tooling Data Tooling Application Tooling

Episode 6: Product Positioning for OSS Startups

AUTHOR: Robby (Cowboy VC) & Tim (Essence VC)

Emily Omier, Positioning Consultant for Commercial Open-Source Companies

2:53: Emily discusses the positioning of the 2 products OSS companies have: the OSS product & the paid product

5:30: Emily talks about her process & how she interacts with ‘super users’ to understand what they use the project for (hint: it’s often not what the project owner had in mind)

8:02: Emily digs into competition and how most OSS startups are competing with a manual process vs. other companies

10:09: The hard parts about positioning an OSS startup are discussed: resource challenges, focus, and engineers as challenging buyers

14:36: Emily talks about common mistakes OSS companies make

18:54: We dig into the right team set-up for OSS companies

21:10: Emily talks about the key areas OSS companies should think about when coming up with their positioning: expectations on what the product does and does not contain, expectations on related tools, competitors, and target users (type of app, workload, product, use case, etc.)

35:45: We talk about monetization and how to think about targeting the right customers

37:50: Emily ends on advice for early-stage OSS founders: don’t try to create a completely new category, bring well-understood concepts together, and position as the best option for a small market early-on

Full episode here

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