grep 'Reboot The User' FOSSBiz
Reboot The User is a small shop located in Omaha, Nebraska. Jay Swackhamer, the man behind the company, was willing to take time out of his hectic schedule to answer our questions. Despite the numerous fluctuations he sees in his business, Jay says he sees interest in GNU/Linux picking up, generally. Here's what Jay has to say about selling GNU/Linux boxes.
How long have you been in business?
3.5 Years with a commercial location, 12 years total
How many employees do you currently have?
One, me, but I have several people available on an as-needed contract basis.
What is your primary business focus?
Customer support is my primary business focus. I work to fulfill the customer needs and wherever Linux will fill a need, I will use Linux. My main areas of work change depending on the month, when there are college breaks I primarily clean laptops of viruses and spyware, but lately, I've mainly been working on refurbishing machines leftover from corporate refreshes.
How many GNU/Linux boxes have you sold in the last 6 months?
What kind of sales revenue are you generating?
It depends on what type of machines are requested or I have available. Refurbished machines are available for $15-$200 but a request for a high-end MythTV box may go over $2000.
Do you offer GNU/Linux training as well as support?
I have offered classes in the past, and am available via email for assistance to current customers.
What are your support hours?
Support hours are 24x7 for long-term customers.
Do you offer servers with GNU/Linux pre-installed?
Do you offer Windows-to-GNU/Linux migration consulting?
Not officially, but I have helped some small business convert machines where they don't have a long-term application requirement.
What is your primary distribution (or most requested)?
Gentoo for most machines, developer workstations, media(MythTV), and servers. Ubuntu for refurbished desktop machines
Who are your customers (businesses, individuals, non-profit orgs)?
All of the above.
What kind of fluctuation do you see, in terms of business growth? Are your sales picking up? Are you seeing more interest in GNU/Linux?
I am in a constant state of fluctuation, I have a varied customer base, and how their business is doing affects my business. Sales may rise and fall depending on the time of year, but overall my sales have picked up.
I would say that the overall interest has been increasing as people look for an alternative to the default sold at the commodity stores. Most of business is generated by referrals, so people interested in Linux are directed towards me.
What is the most common challenge you face in selling boxes with GNU/Linux pre-installed?
I wouldn't say that there are any challenges to selling a Linux box for me, since My customers are typically looking for a Linux box. Most of the machines I put together are refurbished and a Linux installation is included. Other OS installations are Time & Software cost.
There are lots of stereotypical descriptions of users who just can't use GNU/Linux. Do you see any particular stereotype being destroyed?
Good or bad, there are groups of people that wont use Linux. The people that will pass over a machine with Linux are the same people that are taken aback when they are told that they will have to purchase Windows. Using Linux is a choice and some people don't do well when faced with choices as expansive as the opportunities with Linux.
People that are open to choice and use computers by function and not by the exact icons on the screen will break away from the stereotypes. If you can 'point and click' in one OS, you can 'point and click' in another.
There will always be people that migrate towards different operating systems, whether it's Linux,Windows,Mac,BSD,Sun,OS2,ReactOS, or BeOS. Resistance is not futile, you don't have to be assimilated.
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