In the late 1990s, when Robin Chase and her co-founders started testing names for what would become the car-sharing network Zipcar, they quickly learned to avoid the word "sharing." "Every one that had the word 'share' in it," she says, "about 40 percent of the people hated. They thought, 'It's going to be dirty -- crummy -- like the 1960s, and I'm going to have to wait.' Imagine if hotels were called bed-sharing."
Open source technology companies problems faced a similar marketing challenge early on, and still wrestle with the issue even as open source solutions reach ubiquity. It's getting better, people seem to "get it" a little better than they used to, but it surprises everyone who has to deal with it how sticky a problem it continues to be.
One approach is to talk about how sharing makes you stronger. This happens to be demonstrably true when you're talking about software development. And who's going to object to notion of sharing, it's value is established in childhood, and is universally understood to be a virtue. But if it sometimes gives people an uh-oh feeling, and they just aren't that into it, what is someone who's charged with communicating on behalf of an open source company or project supposed to do?
Why are people wary of sharing?