[svlug] Open Source Geek Squad Alternative

Alvin Oga alvin at mail.Linux-Consulting.com
Wed Nov 7 01:28:08 PST 2007


hi ya v

> vprasad1 vprasad1 wrote:
> 
> Linux Today had a link to this Intranet Journal article by Matt Hartley on =
> creating an open source Geek Squad alternative ( http://www.intranetjournal=
> .com/articles/200711/ij_11_01_07a.html ).  At the end, he mentions that the=
>  type of business has been successful, but "not on a national scale".

yes and no ... depends on what one calls "type" of business ??

- one person outfits  or "5 or more employee"  or well-known entities
  or public corporations

- eg, taos and equivalent can be counted or not in that "type" of business ...

	- i do not count headhunters ( taos ) as "support folks" ... they are headhunters ..

>  My questions:
> What Open Source oriented Geek Squad type services exist here in the Valley=
>  area?

there's one who has part of that "catch phrase" ( Geek squad ) in its corp name
on stevens creek near lawrence expressway

best buy also have them "geeks" working their counters within best buy

dozens of other companies in the SF bay area ... 99% of them, nobody
has ever heard of  .. but they do exists .. because of windoze and
starting to pretending to be knowledgeable in "open source"

> Are there any Tech Support businesses even more targeted (ie specific Linux=
>  distro focus) for supporting SoHo/Home clients?

speaking from my limited view of working with paying customers only, 
since i do "this" full time ... i'm un-employed for years per se  :-)

i wear many hats: primarily linux and freebsd and lots of other past lives
with various hats ( circuit design, logic design, vlsi design, cae/cad, .. )

there are some folks that make a living at doing that all too common "tech support" 
and but more folks provide other functions and expertise for their customers

soho/home clients have zero $$$ to "pay you" ( anything reasonable ) 
to make a living at it

	- most all of you have already worked on your friends computers
	at home whom needed you to come fix it now so they can do their
	computer task by 8am tommorrow

	- it's good to help friends .. up to a point ..

---------

i think ... paying corporate customers are looking for:

- what do you have that they cannot get from their current preferred list
  of outsourced providers ... vs what they have in house
	- it is tough to compete on just price with them folks in your 
	(non)favorite outsourced countries ( india, china )

- what makes your skills or products special compared to the other 100 
  "open source" competitors bidding for the same customers or tasks you are after

	- price vs time vs quality vs reliability vs repeatability vs expertise

	- teeshirt vs business suit with snickers or jeans and tie
	or properly dressed per business ettique ...
	it all makes a difference too to some hiring decision makers

- paying customers do not mind paying $100 - 200 - $300 per hr for 
  an outsider to come in to fix their problems that they didn't get
  solved for days, weeks, months or in some cases quarters 

	and when things go bad ...  guess who gets cut first

	get in .. fix it for them and move onto the next waiting job

- these "open source" entities need to make $500K or $1M per person or more
  before "the big fish" will notice the "little fish"

	big fish == usually public companies

	10 little fish ( unknown geeks ) with $1M each in revenue would
	be formiddable new company ( combined $10M in revenue ) and easy enough 
	to be noticed ... or continue with status quo and continue to be 
	obscure if one does NOT "work together"

	i think there will be a big surge of major "outsourced" support
	since everybody has a computer and donno what to do with it
	except to go buy a new dell when the old dell breaks

	"geek squad" is mostly windoze folks and/or folks with
	certificate this and certificate that up the ying yang

	it should be easy to compete against them if you know your shit
	inside and out while they go googling/yahooing for their answers
	and they should find your answers and you'd be hired by the
	paying customers that is in a hurry to solve it yesterday

- my rules: ( for discussion ... customers or subcontractors )

	- what do you do, knowing a cracker has root access to your box
	( how do you protect your other boxes and protect the data )

	- how much "real" $$$ does the customer lose .. that should be 
	some basis for how much they should invest to prevent that initial 
	loss of revenue when the computer breaks 
	( and it will break, sooner or alter )
	
	- most ( 95% ) of the paying customers want redhat expertise
	and dangling all them 1000 other linux distro in front of them
	will not help your situation to get corporate customers

	there's maybe a handful of folks making a living doing debian 
	where they didn't insist on it themself and inherited it from
	the previous engineering group that dissipated over time

	- i look at what open source info you have ( website ) 
	that nobody else has  ( shows forethought, not hindsight )

	- i put you in an isolated cubicle without internet access,
	and you show me what you "got" ( aka what your expertise is )

- i turn away more jobs than i accept ... mostly because i like to
  be amongst the last guy they call and are more likely to pay professional 
  rates ( specs, expectations ) instead of being the first when they 
  offer beginner's $$$

c ya
alvin
http://Linux-Consulting.JP .. and the rest countries in this zoo





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