Community Leadership Summit Wiki

Session Room: Table 3

Time Slot: 3pm on Saturday Organizer: Richard Esplin <> Note-taker: Jeff Potts <>

Problem Statement:

  • We know how many paying customers started on our free offering, but we don't know how to assign better value to individual free users. Having an accurate idea of the value would help with our decision making.


  • Better surveys of paying customers can help.
  • Need to ask free users more often for information about their usage of the product.
  • Information has money, and unpaid users can contribute a lot by sharing their usage information.
  • The system can collect and report valuable information (Drupal, Maria DB, Debian, Fedora). Most users will disable it, but some information is better than none.
  • Community installs dropped significantly for each additional piece of information requested prior to download.
  • When information disclosure was optional, 90% opted out.
  • Optimize-ly: test what language works. "Keep up to date on events in your area" was most useful copy for newsletter opt-in, this starts a new user touch track / drip.
  • Grover Righter at Lever10 helps provide consulting around lead metrics.
  • Works best to monetize only the large deals because the smaller ones cost more to support
  • Giving away free monitoring helps a lot with identifying who is doing what.
  • Phone home features don't provide much data because people all block it--they don't want to opt-in.
  • Opt-in rates for providing information for download is low, but single sign-on to provide information for forum posts and interactions was much more popular.
  • Gmail addresses seem like they aren't worth much, but they are still the start of a relationship. Sometimes developers provide Gmail addresses because they want a relationship with the vendor independent of their current employer.
  • Integrated developer network has a lot of value because it lets us build real relationships.
  • The community should think "the more information I give the vendor, the more the vendor can give me more of what I want".
  • Encourage opt-in by offering things of real value: monitoring service, forum responses.
  • Measure the value of participating in certain events, but remember that events are often multi-touch.
  • Be cautious of closed-lost sales data because it is very dirty--the sales rep has a poor understanding of what really happened in a closed-lost scenario.
  • It is very helpful to know who is free and upgrading vs those who are just using the product occasionally.
  • We need to do better at marketing to existing customers just like reaching out to the non-subscribing customers: monitoring can really help here too.
  • Different users will have different value, based on company size, time spent, market segment.


  • How long did you spend on the free product?
  • What are the reasons behind a community to enterprise conversion?
  • Did customers who are now paying customers use it in production (and upgrade regularly), or just evaluation / developer learning