The Art of Customer Engagement and Retention: Premium Support for Freemium Software

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B204


Your project won't be successful if people can't use it successfully. There are a lot of tricks to good tech support that won't break the bank.


I’ll highlight how providing professional support on an amateur budget can get your project off the ground, and later in the product life cycle, maintain and grow a paying user base without breaking the bank or driving you crazy. Some of this is common sense: write good software and documentation. Some of it is a little bit progressive: learn from your (customers’) mistakes. And some of it is revolutionary: let your customers write your documentation, fix your bugs, and extend your software.

I’ll illustrate some of this with business cases from the company I work for (some of whose software is open source) , but much of it will be formed from case studies in open source communities.

Speaking experience

I don't have any links to my speaking experience. I did run a Linux users' group for a number of years, presenting monthly on tech topics, and then I ran one of the largest student ACM chapters in the country for a couple of years ( and ended up talking in front of large geek crowds a fair amount.