Roberto Galoppini’s idea of an Open Source Network Marketing (OSNM) hints at some of the values that a strong community can bring to your brand:
Open Source Network Marketing could help to reduce information asymmetry, bringing more end-users to become customers and save time (and money!) buying instead commercial open source services (i.e. subscriptions and everything else fits in your funnel marketing).
Open Source Network Marketing has to be applied responsibly and ethically. The free software community has to be happy to be part of this business equation, valuing hackers’ time and experience is a must. Make them happy is the only way to foster the ecosystem required to release this potential.
It’s an interesting concept, mixing multi-level-marketing with the concept of the tribe. If you’re lucky enough to have built a tribal community around your brand, maybe an OSNM scheme can multiply its value. Linus Torvalds managed to build a tribe in the early days of ‘Linux’, although who is really exploiting the value of such tribe is not that clear at the moment; the results are split between so many actors that the actual value is not clearly visible.
Watching the ‘Linux’ tribes you may understand how hard it can be to keep tribes acting ‘responsibly and ethically’. It’s a balancing act, but if you do it right it can bring benefits.