This week as I explored the blogosquare (the blogosphere was a little too crowded) I happened upon two topics that are both very pertinent to those wishing to start a business. The first was in a blog by Rea Maor. The post was titled “Linux PCs: The State of the Market.” In this post, Rea discussed the new desktop computer (right) being sold at Wal-Mart for $200, how it runs a free version of Linux customized by Google and how its entry into the market is going to signal competition for the major PC/operating system manufacturers. The second post was in a blog by Gaebler Ventures titled “Alternatives to Hiring Employees.” It suggested some forms of temporary position filling for small businesses that I found to be going out of vogue very quickly in today’s world of digital commerce and communities.
Linux PCs: The State of the Market
This is quite an interesting topic. I think it will continue to gain momentum, driven, as you said, by kids instead of adults. Though there are undoubtedly adults who would agree, a $200 computer is hard to beat, it is the younger, poorer contingent of the population that will really drive the sales of these machines up. Further down the road, however, when people realize that Linux and other open source projects like gOS (screen shot at left) are offering extremely competitive alternatives to the current bipartisan OS domination of Microsoft and Apple, there could very well be a mass movement towards the free operating systems. Part of what will convince people that these open source offerings are the way to go is their ease of use and nearly idiot-proof setup process. Like you said, what better way to bring open source technology to the masses then to spruce up a rock solid (and very popular) Linux distribution with some eye-candy and package it with the means to download for free whatever the user might need – it is the ultimate in simplistic computing.
Alternatives to Hiring Employees
This is a problem that many small businesses can run into. The suggestions made here are all good, however, seeing as how many small businesses are beginning to cater to niche sectors of highly technical industries, the traditional forms of temporary help services and employee leasing options may not be suitable for much longer. Instead small businesses will probably move to contracting and/or outsourcing for talent via online service networking websites. Services like rentacoder.com and hireacoder.net are two niche examples of the type of online business networking services that companies might employ. Both of these examples put potential employees at the disposal of employers with links to their work and references and ratings from previous employers. The beauty of these kinds of sites is that employers are not limited to talent in their immediate surrounding area, they can outsource all over the world to find the right balance of cost vs. performance for their needs.