If there is something everyone loves about Open Source software (FLOSS) is that every issue ever discovered with it is known, there are no surprises. All incompatibilities, if discovered, are out there and anyone trying out the software knows what to expect before they begin. The main benefit of such transparency is that customers are never outraged by bugs. And let’s face it, there is no bug-free software, especially if you try to make it work on Windows 🙂
When it comes to closed source software, I’ve been in the industry enough to know the rule of “hush-hush” is the preferred business model. Known issues, bugs, incompatibilities? Keep them buried and hope no one finds out. The perfect plan to have everything blow in your face.
I thought a series debating all the aspects of this “hide it all under the carpet” strategy would help software vendors understand that transparency can actually be a great selling point. No customer likes to be bullshitted and asked to remove programs without any real explanation. That is why I’ve come up with a series focusing on how important respect and telling the truth are in this competitive industry and what the lack of these values can lead to. Up to now, I’ve thought of 4 parts, but things might get more complex around the way:
- How Much Do Sales People Know and How Much of that Do They Hide?
- Should the Marketers and Communicators Care about What’s Wrong With the Product?
- When Everything Goes Wrong, Do Support Engineers Eventually Come Clean?
- Software Utopia: Transparency All the Way! Any Benefits?
This is indeed a large and complicated topic, so while posting each entry of debating the subject of transparency in the software industry, I’d love to hear your thoughts, your pleasant encounters and horror stories involving tech support, sales people and marketer in the software industry.
So stay tuned, and let’s start debating!