I've been readin Eric Sink's blog on marketing for geeks, and found the series he did on the 22 immutable laws of marketing very interesting (it's the grind notes of the book, more or less).
And several of those laws could do with being applied to GNOME.
For example, what is our focus? What is our market? what is our position in that market?
Some of those questions have seeds of an answer in the MarketingTeam section of the wiki, but we are missing polish, and rigour.
So here are some propositions - we need to focus GNOME's self image. We need to be realisting about who is likely to adapt our software.
We have only 2 target markets. Both are healthy, but they are radically different (oops). The first is early adopter geeks. Right now, we're number 2 in that market. The second is free software adopters in local government. And there we're number 1.
So how can we position ourselves? For the public administration clients our message is straightforward - GNOME is easy to learn, and easy to use. Usability is our number 1 selling point. GNOME Just Works (TM).
Early adopter geeks generally don't care about that, though. Which means either we have to broaden our scope (not a good idea) to find a market where this is important, which is closely related to the geek segment, or we have to fragment our message, also not a good idea.
The alternative is live with the fact that we are going to be number 2 among early adopters, and focus on crossing the chasm, and marketing to people who do care about having a computer that is easy to learn, and easy to use. Which sounds good to me.
So let's practice - GNOME is the free software desktop which is easiest to learn, and easiest to use.
OK, it's not snappy, and it needs a bit of work. For a start we don't identify ourselves with public administration. I'm all ears.