Red Hat CEO and supersalesman Jim Whitehurst sure knows how to keep things simple. In yet another global tour pitching Red Hat, Whitehurst compared the open source development model to American Idol, the TV show that propelled country singer Carrie Underwood to instant fame, and the proprietary software model to Microsoft’s much-scorned Vista operating system and Britney Spears.
According to a ZDNet.co.uk article, Whitehurst told a Singapore business forum that companies using open source software address their major software pain points right away and can then share the results quickly with the rest of the community. Proprietary software companies, on the other hand, are slowed down by the need to solicit user feedback and then fix the problems through a top-down, planned development cycle. That model, proclaimed Whitehurst, is on the decline, he said.
Look at the recording industry, Whitehurst said. They spend far less to market American Idol winners, whose appeal has been proven up front than they do on the multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns for Britney Spears that lack a similar advance-popularity litmus test, Whitehurst said.
Whitehurst’s analogy couldn’t be clearer (which assumes that the typical Asian businessman is familiar with American Idol and is old enough to remember records). Anybody else still got any old 45s kicking around?