When starting a new business it is very important to be sure that you are basing on the right partners.
Personally I received answers to most of these questions, but I think that a lot (if not most) of OpenIO users - and prospect customers - have these questions as well.
Here are some things that crossed my mind at first, regarding OpenIO:
- who is behind OpenIO? Does this person/team have any previous experience with big-data/storage?
- what is OpenIO? Is it a company, a couple of persons, a person backed up by investors/angels etc?
- does OpenIO has any investors, or is it a “garage-made startup”?
- how many corporate/enterprise clients use OpenIO at this point? Do any of them have a considerable amount of data stored via OpenIO (100tb+)?
- who’s writing code for OpenIO? Most of the code is published on Git and can be freely modified. Does OpenIO have a team o dedicated programmers, or we’re talking about a community-driven project?
- is OpenIO production ready? Can OpenIO grow at a “petabite scale” or is it something that should be used for private projects or development (ex.: Minio)?
- are there any differences between the Community (free) and paid version? Except support and the WebUI, do you offer anything extra for paying customers?
- are you planning to have two different OpenIO versions (ex.: Community and Business)? Do you plan to restrict certain features for the Community version and have a separate Business version with all the bells&whistles? If yes, can you give us an example of “business-only features”?
- do you plan to focus/target OpenIO as a community-driven product, or a product that is offered primarily to paying customers (the Git code being an “extra” for testing&non-production environments)?
- do you plan to build a product and sell it after 2-3 years to the highest bidder, or do you plan to slowly grow and base your business on support & corporate licensing?
- any startup is offering software at a very attractive price in the first 1-2 years of existence. Can you offer any guarantees that there will be no “extreme price bumps” in the future, or do you prefer to refrain from such comments?
- do you plan to base your licensing agreements on “metadata exports”? Selling metadata could be a nice income source, so you can offer OpenIO as free&production-ready software as long as the user agrees to share some of its users stats&data. So let’s say it directly: do you plan to mine and sell data/stats/information in order to keep your business rolling? When you don’t pay for a product…you are the product.
- does OpenIO have a dedicated support team (24/7) for paying customers? What is the usual response time for urgent tickets?
I’m aware that most of these questions are “on the edge” of spoiling your business plans. But from my own experience I realized that it’s far more easy to have a transparent attitude and bluntly state your intention in the first place, rather than hiding under the bush.