javivazquez at Zentyal

Entries Tagged as 'misc'

It (the business model) works

March 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Last Tuesday, I attended to a gathering of public administrations using or interested in open source software: “III Intercambio Experiencias Foro de Administraciones Públicas”, funded by CENATIC. The goal of the event is to make easier for Spanish public organizations sharing experiences about their open source projects.

During the whole day, the word Zentyal was present, 3 of the talks commented about their experiences with Zentyal Server. Actually, the Council which kindly hosted us for the gathering (Marchena) was managing its network and internet access with Zentyal :-)

In the afternoon, I got a call from our R&D certification advisor about the amounts in 2010, and he told me Zentyal had appeared in an Spanish on-line publication about innovation (Madrid I+D). Moreover, through Facebook, some of my friends let me know that a generic magazine, “Muy interesante”, also published a reference to Zentyal Server as the alternative to Windows Small Business Server.

Zentyal was everywhere in Spain on Tuesday, our popularity keeps growing. However, converting popularity in cash is not an easy task, that’s what I want to talk about in this post.

The hardest issue for an open source start-up is not to gain popularity (tough enough though), but to make users pay for a free product.  It’s “the penny gap“, a concept created by the the venture capitalist Josh Kopelman:

The truth is, scaling from $5 to $50 million is not the toughest part of a new venture – it’s getting your users to pay you anything at all. The biggest gap in any venture is that between a service that is free and one that costs a penny.

Zentyal Server is open source GPL and free (as free beer). Our business model is based on subscriptions, add-ons and technical support; which are sold mainly through certified VARs and on-line.

The last six months we have been selling subscriptions on-line, growing consistently quarter to quarter and so proving ourselves that our subscriptions are considered a compelling reason to buy by Zentyal users.  Our business model is supported by the numbers, it works.

Now it’s time to invest in sales and grow.

Tags: misc

El futuro del Software Libre

September 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Desde el cambio de marca, eBox se ha convertido en Zentyal y nuestra web corporativa aparece ya en inglés y español. Por ello, dado ese pequeño gran paso, el idioma de Cervantes tendrá cabida también en este mi blog. Desde ahora, escribiré en inglés o castellano indistintamente.

Para bautizar esta nueva era bilingüe, desde Gaceta Tecnológica me han pedido opinión sobre el Software Libre y su futuro, y sobre mi particular visión de este asunto versa este post.

En primer lugar, aclarar que escribo Software Libre, con mayúsculas, porque lo considero un nombre propio, algo sin duda incorrecto en cuanto a la gramática, pero merecido en mi opinión.

No en vano, el Software Libre y en particular el modelo económico, tecnológico y social que lo rodea se han convertido en una referencia a imitar en los ámbitos más diversos:

  • En la política y el gobierno de países anglosajones, donde la (bienvenida) fiebre de transparencia y apertura de datos  es la norma y objetivo ya para norteamericanos (Obama) y británicos (Cameron+Clegg), pronto en el resto del mundo.
  • En la industria tecnológica, donde multinacionales de toda condición van mucho más allá del empleo de software libre en sus productos (como IBM con Linux y Apache desde finales del siglo pasado), sino que liberan su propia tecnología y buscan a través de la apertura y la colaboración con terceros el liderazgo en el mercado. Google con Android y Nokia con Symbian son claros ejemplos.
  • En la educación y la generación de materiales educativos, con el caso ejemplarizante de California creando sus propios libros de texto digitales y libres (“Free digital textbook initiative“).

El mundo, en sentido amplio, replica un patrón cuando lo necesita: En un sistema capitalista, ligado indisolublemente al crecimiento exponencial e infinito, la economía exige desarrollo asociado a materias primas inagotables, no finitas. Y el conocimiento lo es.

Por tanto, la tan mentada “economía del conocimiento” no es (sólo) una moda, sino (también) una imperiosa urgencia. Y el único modelo en torno al conocimiento que ha demostrado ser compatible con el sistema económico global actual es, cuál si no, el del Software Libre. Nuestro mundo requiere del Sotftware Libre para sobrevivir…

Y apoyado en sus valores intrínsecos (compartición, colaboración, transparencia, meritocracia), el futuro del Software Libre es mejorar el mundo y las sociedades en las que vivimos, en un sentido mucho maś amplio y profundo del que ni siquiera podemos ahora mismo imaginar.

Tags: misc

Our partners pipeline

August 6th, 2009 · No Comments

Having a great product is not enough to make business, everyone who has run a company knows that. If they don’t see you, you don’t exist. Since our company web site showed up a couple of months ago, the number of qualified leads (potential qualified partners) has been growing up steadily.

Geographically, they are coming mainly from US and Spain, although they are other countries such as Italy and Brazil catching up fast. Surprisingly, A company from Mauritius has been the last one in filling up our “become a partner” form

Having in mind the where the visits to our websites -both eBox Platform and eBox Technologies– come from, Germany is missing despite of being the third country in number of visitors, very close to US (first) and Spain (second). I am puzzled, why don’t we have any VAR or MSP from Germany knocking in our door yet?.

Anyway, things are going quite well. In the next few weeks we are going to make public the list with the first authorized eBox partners, both Service and Training, from countries such as US, Spain, Mexico or Singapur.

Having in mind than we just sign partners who show real commitment -say, those which are able to offer a superb quality service-, and the time we employ with them to define and develop their business plan with eBox, we should reach the number of 15-20 partners during the next 16 weeks.

Looking at the map and how (geographically) diverse is the people who approach us it’s really motivating. More partners and more diversity, more fun.

Tags: misc

eBox Platform 1.2 is officially out!

July 15th, 2009 · No Comments

eBox Platform 1.2 has been officially published and it’s ready for download from our repositories.

The latest version of eBox Platform includes a lot of new stuff, but I would highlight a couple of new modules that complete the functionality of eBox UTM and eBox Unified Communication Server:

The Intrusion Detection System (IDS, based on Snort) and the PBX that allows telephone over IP  (VoIP, based on Asterisk).

Furthermore, as the announcement points out:

“[…] eBox Platform 1.2 is the first partner-ready version, as it allows the registration of different eBox installations in eBox Control Center to facilitate remote access, managed services and advanced support for a group of eBox networks […]”

It means that eBox is ready to sign with the partners which are currently in negotiations, offering them third level support for deployment and maintenance, certified training and the technology needed to become a managed services providers (MSPs).

Last, but not least, this release comes also with a surprise for your Ubuntu based desktops:  eBox Desktop, wich provides authentication against eBox LDAP and auto-configuration for the services provided by eBox (mail, samba, Jabber, VoIP, …).

From eBox 1.2 on, eBox Platform will be released on a 6 months basis. Our next stable will be eBox 1.4, which is expected for early January 2010.

What will eBox 1.4 include? Don’t go so fast, enjoy eBox 1.2 and stay tuned :), the new features for 1.4 will be announced in the next few weeks.

Tags: misc

Getting started

April 5th, 2009 · No Comments

Everything interesting in life starts by a discovery, reaching a new state or situation not known before. The eagerness to discover is, therefore, what motivates most people, even in business.

A few weeks ago I have arrived at eBox Technologies, a free software Spanish start-up, to work as the COO.  eBox Tech. is starting to develop the business around a nice free software product with a vibrant community: eBox Platform.

Although my 7 years previous working experience were also closely related to entrepreneurship and free software, working as manager at Igalia -a 40 people free sofware services company I co-founded with several college classmates-, to help developing a business  around a free sofware product is something (more or less) new for me. Moreover, joining a new company, community, city is just a whole discovery and learning experience, something that I really love to do…

However, it has not been only the discovery what’s took me here, but also the challenge. For eBox Tech., the challenge, its vision, is to make eBox Platform globally the best tool for efficient administration of computer networks, always through partners which can adapt our offering to the context and needs of their regional markets.

I hope to learn during this new challenge at least as much as I did before, and hope also to share my thoughts and discoveries with anyone interested in this another free software entrepreneur’s experience. Stay tunned.

Tags: misc