Musings of an open source peddler

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Open source is an interesting thing to say the least. In fact, that's quite an understatement. Allow me to explain:

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of representing Red Hat with a booth at POSSCON 2010. On the table sat three distinct groups of items: a few Red Hat whitepapers and datasheets, Fedora swag, and finally on the right-hand side were fliers and buttons. A volunteer at the event came up to me while setting up and asked if he could have a button. He immediately attached it to his lanyard directly above his nametag. Cool, I thought. I didn't really think much of it as I still had a booth to finish setting up.

However, as people began to filter in, a few came up and said they had seen his button, asked him about it, and wanted buttons for their lanyards. While they were at the booth, many also grabbed a Fedora 12 disc, and we were able to carry on a conversation about Red Hat services and products. Yet I kept getting interrupted by people just wanting a button. It seemed as if it had become uncool to not have a button on your lanyard. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was completely out of buttons.

Regardless of any extra traffic I was able to generate for or any extra customers I was able to bring to Red Hat, I know that our primary mission was a success. I helped people new to open source learn how they can get involved. When students from local schools stopped by, they were shocked to learn that they could get involved with open source without knowing anything about code. They told their friends, and those friends stopped by for more information. Judging by the great conversations I had with so many different people, coupled with the visits from people who had heard we had something more to say than that we are selling software that also happens to be open source, I'd say it was a resounding success.

Little did I know that a little button with simple text would be the catalyst for such great interactions.

So, as usual, I like to follow up with a request for comments.  Did you come by and talk to me at POSSCON? Did you get a button or a flier? Have you had similar experiences where the open idea you're presenting just speaks for itself? If so, share below.

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Matt Hudson's picture

Hey Travis.

I'm pretty sure that was me that came up (the Volunteer), but then again, maybe not. I'm glad our event was a success for you. Thank you for taking the time to share with everyone your impressions.

Todd and I appreciate you coming out. Sorry you and the 'hidden-wife' were unable to stay any longer than you could -- I was ready to take you guys out on the town with some of our other speakers.

Hope to see you next year... and yeah, maybe some more buttons. ;)

tkepley's picture
Open Minded

Glad to see the internet hard at work just don't tell me you were searching for yourself :)

Hopefully next year I'll get to stay a hair longer. But I had a blast and can't wait to come back.

Matt Hudson's picture

Well no... not for 'myself' but for POSSCON ... much as I am now, re-directing me back to this page again!

Look forward to seeing you there. This year 3 days at the Metropolitan center. Good times, great oldies. We'll be opening up registration in the next day or so (shhhhh....) :D

Matt Hudson's picture

Funny, how as I typed the subject, I had to back-space to add quotes around open. As, POSSCON is *cough* "Open" for registrations, we're certainly "Open" by many meanings.

Either way. Feel free to let our fellow Openeers (That's Open Pioneers) know about POSSCON 2011. Registration is open with an amazingly low Very Earlybird registration until the end of December at only $79 for the three days.

Take care, See you soon.