Good stories, the ones we love to read, the stories we respond to, start with conflict. They end with it, too.
Happy endings -- whether Cinderella's marriage to the prince or Samwise's marriage to Rosie Cotton -- are only for people who fell in love with their initial conflict.
So the story of Liferay may not appeal to you. It's a full content management tool. You can use it to build a deep, social Web site. It's open source, but with customers like T-Mobile, Honda, China Mobile and many more.
Not to Paul Hinz. But he's the chief marketing officer for a nice family company, in his case the Chan family. He needs to make this as exciting as possible. It's his life.
Liferay takes just 200 megabytes, it takes just 7 minutes to download and install, and it lets you immediately start building social applications with Facebook-like features, to run either inside or outside your corporate firewall, he began.
"It lets you form ad hoc teams, let managers blog about lessons they've learned, do internal messaging, see the status of others in your group," he said.
The new paradigm is the "social app" and Liferay plugs right into it. "Sesamestreet.com is all Liferay. The Cisco Developer Network is all Liferay."
What's out is the idea of layers. This was big in 1999. When open source was new the portal was called the presentation layer. The business logic was the application layer. It was hard to build applications.
Liferay has changed that.
"With Liferay 6 you don't have to think about the layers below. You get a collaborative layer, a database layer, everything you need in it, plus you can plug into your existing rules engine. You can use mySQL or Oracle. You can run Tomcat, or Websphere."
Some industries are buying the Liferay paradigm ahead of others. Government likes it. Education loves it. Finance has gotten big since the crash, with banks seeing they can pay $1 million for a full Web server or $30,000 for Liferay support.
"Gartner says 25% of portals will move to open source in the next few years and we're the only player," Hinz concluded.
Oh and if you want to get into this yourself Liferay is starting to grow its OEM business, with partners who specialize in geographies or industries.
A great story, but where is the conflict?