The one thing that Mycroft and most other Open Source projects are missing


#1

TL;DR: Mycroft needs to advertise itself if it wants to become popular.

Hey everyone. Have you ever noticed that most people have never heard of most open source projects? Most people haven’t even heard of open source itself! And the ones that are popular, like VLC for example, are popular mostly because they were spread through word of mouth, and that’s been going on for 18 years. And this is a huge bottleneck in the popularity of open source. So why is it that open source projects aren’t that popular compared to their proprietary competitors?

I think that it’s because of the lack of advertising.

Advertising can be annoying at times, but often what makes things well known. If you look at big proprietary software like Amazon Alexa for example, you’ll see that they are advertised all the time. You can see ads for Alexa all the time, on all platforms. But when you look at open source software, like Mycroft, you’ll find that there’s been some recognition on some tech news outlets, but nothing else. Besides, people that are technologically proficient are most of the people who see those. And Mycroft does have some videos on its YouTube channel that are pretty much ads, but they’re not being used as ads (put on Adsense).

I feel like if Mycroft would have some advertising campaigns, it would become way more popular as a platform. Because at the moment, only a select few know about it. Even advertizing on YouTube would be good too.


#2

Hi Arsolium,

Welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

It’s an interesting question of how much Mycroft should be using paid advertising at different stages of the project. I can promise you that we don’t have the advertising budget of Amazon Alexa, so we have to be smart about who we’re trying to reach and how. /r/MycroftAI is a good example of this. We really value the goodwill of our community members spreading the word.

Are there particular places that you (or anyone reading along) go for information about tech products in particular, that you think would be important for Mycroft to have a presence?


#3

I believe the current advertising budget should be $0. Typically you advertise when you want to generate sales, but there is a time to launch a product and that time has not arrived yet. In my mind the blocking issue is echo cancellation, because if Alexa and Google Home are any indication, most people will use this for music. Perhaps the Mark II will solve this problem with a microphone array and then it’s time to start advertising.

I also still haven’t heard someone say definitely that the respeaker arrays can hear the watchword from across the room while music is playing at moderate volume.


#4

The noise cancellation is an important one, and not an easy fix unfortunately. About a year ago we setup a bounty to see if anyone in the community had ideas to resolve it.

However I’m also interested to hear how people find the ReSpeaker given their specs include “advanced DSP [Digital Signal Processing] algorithms that include Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), beamforming, dereverberation, noise suppression and gain control”.


#5

In any event, it’s quite simply not going to be possible to use advertising to compete with either an advertising agency or a quasi-monopoly intent on getting maximal feedback from its users. As I understand it Mycroft’s original business model was built on the fact that it had no interest in getting its users into a stranglehold, and provided that it doesn’t lag too badly technically that’s really its major asset.

The NYT had an interesting take on the situation a few days ago:

…which suggests that dating agencies will probably have to start asking “which digital assistant do you use?”. Unless, of course, Google/Amazon/Apple start pairing users up based on the preferences that they’ve gleaned over months and years of unwitting interaction.

At which point I suppose this from today’s edition becomes relevant:

MarkMLl


#6

Wow, both great pieces, thanks!

The segregation really struck me again when I was reading Gizmodo’s series on giving up the big 5 tech giants. During the Apple week, her friends and family were concerned, even anxious and angry, that the she wasn’t using an iPhone. I forgot how much the colour of an SMS/iMessage background means to people. It’s phenomenal, and only going to get exacerbated with the expansion of closed ecosystems.


#7

Hi, thanks for your reply! I do know that as a startup, you guys don’t have the budget for too many paid ads at the moment. I was thinking that you should wait until the newer hardware is readily available before you start advertising at all.

In terms of places to advertise, I would say that you definitely want to have video ads to show off the product. And I think that good places to advertise it would be places that lots of people, tech savvy or not, go to, like YouTube or Reddit to name a few.

One of the things that advertising would help with is recruiting people to develop Mycroft and the things it runs on.

I’d LOVE to see a Mycroft device with a 8 inch screen, a camera with a physical shutter, Harman Kardon speakers, and features that other smart displays have, like Video calling (maybe with Signal messenger or something), phone calls, and watching YouTube videos, shopping lists that sync with phones in bad connections (my mother has that problem with her Alexa), a built in OpenHab hub with Zigbee and Z-wave built in, and maybe even Kodi with voice control. I don’t buy many things day one, but if that came out I would buy that the moment it came out.

And things like that wouldn’t materialize if people weren’t introduced to Mycroft itself. So it’s important to introduce people to Mycroft in order to get people onboard the team.