When you call a company for support, that's first-level support. When they escalate it to a supervisor that's second-level support. If you really need an expert, that's third-level support.
OpenLogic is selling this as a push into Europe for its third-party support services, but the view from Monchengladbach (current home of USA Soccer star Michael Bradley) is quite different. (Go Junter.) I got a taste of how different this morning, chatting with Credativ CEO Michael Meskes and his U.S. unit president, Joe Conway.
Credativ's business model is built around project committers. Both Meskes and Conway are committers to PostgreSQL, for instance. It reminded me of the model Marc Fleury had for JBOSS "back in the day," which is to say 2004.
It's all about giving back, said Meskes. "When we find a bug in a distribution and fix it, we will report the bug and patch or in most cases we will simply commit it because we already have someone who's a committer on that."
Last week, for instance, Credativ held a coding event for Debian Linux in its German offices. Half the people there were from inside the company, the other half were outsiders.
Credativ only entered the U.S. market last fall, so right now the U.S. office in El Cajon, outside San Diego, is mostly Joe and some people he's transitioning to full-time support work. It's the infrastructure of offices in Germany, England and Canada that lets Credativ seem bigger, and enables deals like the one with OpenLogic.
But Meskes has big dreams. He envisions a global enterprise that can deliver top-notch open source support anywhere in the world. Conway took a call from New Zealand last week, and another from the Caribbean.
He returned both. That's good, because OpenLogic remains a competitor. It's who can best sell and manage support that will decide the winner between these frenemies.