Marketing Team

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The Sugar Labs Marketing Team exists to spread the good word about Sugar. Sugar provides a simple yet powerful means of engaging young children in the world of learning that is opened up by computing and the Internet. It is the job of the Sugar Labs Marketing Team to promote the benefits of Sugar as widely as possible, and to recruit volunteers to help improve the Sugar experience.

The mission of the Marketing team is to articulate the benefits of Sugar (simplify), to promote these benefits as widely as possible (amplify), and to recruit volunteers to improve the Sugar experience.

Please see our Marketing Team mailing list and its archive.

Sean's 2009 - 2015 Overview

Sean Daly acted as Marketing Team Coordinator 2008-2016, and when he stepped down on June 23 2016 he offered the following overview:

The 2009 marketing strategy we implemented, based on Sugar on a Stick, was very successful for a time during the netbook boom, but today's environment is very different with tablets, iOS/Android, etc. I had suggested two other ideas since then to the community to facilitate Sugar for teachers: prebuilt VMs for VirtualBox, and preloaded bootable SD cards and branded cases for Raspberry Pi. Since then, Lionel has developed Sugarizer, which in my view deserves serious consideration for marketing initiatives targeting teachers. Dave's efforts to identify a reference platform are also useful.

Samuel suggested a SWOT analysis today - it's an excellent suggestion, the last one we did is now way out of date. Work with Samuel and Dave and Samson on that, it will be helpful even for project recruitment which is their focus. A competitive landscape survey will be complementary to the SWOT. When the community reaches consensus on the project's vision, work on marketing objectives (as opposed to project objectives) can be done. This usually involves a calendar with what actions are planned. If budget is available, you will want metrics - ways to measure spend effectiveness.

Brand values: this is about how Sugar is different from anything else. We always emphasized low-floor, no ceiling; support for minority languages which for-profit companies ignore; the pedagogical pedigree; View Source; collaboration; the Journal.

There is also the PR aspect - targeting journalists, bloggers, and influencers. Communiqués are important for allowing a site visitor to get an idea of the project's direction in just a few minutes. Historically, we put PR on newswires. But these days, social media is very effective. Here's a tip for news coverage: if an initiative will influence large-buyer decisions (education ministries), or represents a real innovation (value proposition for less than what people usually pay), there could be press interest.

We have been using eReleases, a small company in Baltimore or Philly don't remember - - who have a great deal for nonprofits ("CauseWire"). The company president is Mickie Kennedy, and we have worked with editor Allison McAlister. We haven't done newswire PR for some time - I haven't known what newsworthy info we could put out that could possibly be picked up by traditional media, with the exception of GSoC news. There is an eReleases archives our PR.

The ongoing challenge is overcoming negative image perceptions of OLPC - that the $100 unit price didn't happen, that the project was somehow influenced by Microsoft, even that the project still exists. There is also an identified issue that our slick logo encourages a perception that we are a for-profit startup, not a nonprofit volunteer org. this is why we said "Nonprofit" in many of our PR communiqué titles.

My advice is to not waste time documenting the 2009-2010 strategy or my 2011-2012 attempts to develop a new one. Start from scratch - a SWOT analysis and competitive landscape is the starting point. Translate the SL project objectives into marketing objectives, define a calendar and metrics. You've stated recruitment objectives, but not a strategy... execution (facebook + Google AdWords) seems already decided, which IMHO is putting the cart before the horse, but no big deal.

Caroline Meeks put together the SWOT analysis in this prez. I don't remember if I had assisted with that. I seem to remember having worked on another. I will search my offline archives, which are very complete concerning SL - I have everything from when I started.

This may be useful for very brief marketing strategy historical overview

The success of the SoaS marketing initiative encouraged some SL members to assert control over the name, the trademark, the technical architecture, and the marketing of it. As a result the lead developer of SoaS left the project.

Peter had justifiably complained on IRC around 2010 that there was no marketing strategy page. I had chosen not to create one at the time because OLPC was involved in fierce competition with Intel Classmate offerings running Windows, and we were aware that our marketing initiatives were being monitored. This lack of clarity may have been a mistake, but my goal had been to disrupt the MS/Intel sales force talking points. The marketing team which was numerous at the time all knew the strategy.

Walter's 2016 Marketing Plan

Walter Bender offered this view for future marketing efforts:

What I would like from marketing is some mechanism for highlighting the powerful ideas in Sugar that seem to be lacking in most other systems so that even if a school decides to go with a different product/project, they put pressure on that project to provide tools, not apps, collaboration, transparency, self reflection and group critique, and responsibility on the shoulders of students and teachers to shape their own world.

A few observations/thoughts that may help us in focusing our marketing efforts:

(1) The primary source of push back in AU re Sugar was the browser. Schools had websites that they were interested in accessing that were not supported by Browse at the time. This is something we can turn around in the devel team and maybe something we need to surface in marketing: that Sugar is web/cloud enabled on top of all its other virtues. (I had been keeping the name "cloudberry" in reserve for this.) Ironically, at the time we added Sugar extensions for access to Google Drive (among other clud-based services), NSW got in bed with Microsoft and prohibited schools from using non-MS cloud services. OLPC AU never promoted the Sugar cloud-enabled features.

(2) The switch to Windows 10 by OLPC AU is a total capitulation to the "we don't have a clue as to what is of value in terms of pedagogy, so we'll make a deal with whomever will give us the best deal camp." Not sure what our response should/can be in such circumstances.

(3) There is a still strong interest in Sugar in Paraguay and some momentum to go national. We could try to ride that wave. We've been invited to come to Paraguay in October.

(4) I'm pushing hard in Chile... we'll see what happens.

(5) In UY, they are still using Sugar in primary schools (on Ubuntu). We should market in the Ubuntu space (I had had an offer from Ubuntu to let us do the equivalent of a Fedora Spin which we could follow up on).

(6) We should push on Red Hat to give us more exposure.

(7) Can we get a Sugarizer pilot going in a school to get a sense of what it means.


Deliverables and/or initiatives actively being worked on (with goals and deadlines).

Google Non Profits AdWords

SL is obtaining $10,000 per month AdWords credit that Google offers to nonprofits and will use to run adwords campaigns by these members:

  • Dave Crossland
  • Sean Daly
  • Samson Goddy
  • Walter Bender

The marketing strategy will be to seek new members. Three kinds of members will be sought: (1) software developers, to write python and javascript programs (2) translators, to localize the programs, and (3) technical authors, to increase adoption by specific audiences - parents and schools.

Next Goal: Obtain access to the AdWords account.

~~Deadline: July 30 2016~~

2024-04-02 Update: Devin has obtained this, so that we may use these credits moving forward.

Local Labs Survey 2016

Sugar Labs will survey end users to better understand how Sugar is being adopted and adapted. See also

Next Goal: List as many end users as possible.

Deadline: August 30 2016

New Website

In late 2010, four students from the MIT Sloan MarketLab worked on a study of the Sugar Labs website. Their conclusions indicate the importance not only of revamping our website (launched two years ago when fewer visuals were available), but of addressing other aspects, in particular installation and support issues, as well as the technical orientation of our web presence.

Our polished static website as a landing page for Sugar Labs was redone in March-May 2011, see Marketing Team/Website history

Next Goal: Get the SL 2016 Vision, Mission, and Goals approved by SLOBs

Deadline: September 15 2016


See Marketing Team/Events for a table of events we are targeting.

Next Goal: List possible future events.

Deadline: September 30 2016

Press page

Our Press page is here:

Next Goal: Draft the next press release; Develop a Marketing Team/Press contacts list with education-oriented publications.

Deadline: September 30 2016

Sugar stories

How Sugar motivates us: a series of profiles on contributors. Marketing Team/Sugar stories

Next Goal: List contributors active in 2016

Deadline: August 30 2016


To view, download, and contribute to swag designs (stickers, t-shirts, business cards, USB sticks, umbrellas, etc.) and coordinate purchasing swag from suppliers, see Marketing Team/Swag

Next Goal: Design new swag for 2016

Deadline: September 30 2016


Conversations that may one day turn into projects, or may have in the past been projects.

"Audited" Circulation

- Docdtv

While a small user community might discourage adoption of a tool, a large user community can help encourage adoption. And of course, small communities need always precede large ones! You know the old expression: "Eat Sugar! 10**9 flies can't be wrong!" <G>

How do you measure the size of a community? A great way to do that with automata connected to a global communication network is to have them "phone home" now and then. Now, I hope what I am suggesting does not break with any covenent, (implicit or explicit, moral or legal). But would it be so harmful if, say once a day, a Sugar installation would briefly tell Sugar Labs "Hey, I'm alive on a machine today!"

Some might agree to do this, but worry about a slippery slope. Would the future of this humble audit parallel the course of the United States decennial census, growing from a simple enumeration into a ruthless and arrogant demographic strip-search?

Of course, audits could be of great benefit to end-users, especially if they included Activity installation audits. For example, they could evolve into a mechanism for warning the user about a terrible bug that needs patching, or advertising a follow-on tool almost all users adopt upon learning about the new existence of same. (I just now learn that automatic software updates are a new feature of the latest (8.2.0) OLPC software release.) By "factoring" the audit mechanism into a system-wide facility, Activity developers would be spared the need to code such support on their own.

As a courtesy to Sugar users, cooperation in audits should be voluntary. But every user should be told why such an audit can help him and others.

Naturally, all this is limited by the fact that not every last machine on which Sugar will be run will be attached to the Internet.

Video channels

- Docdtv

1. Does a YouTube channel exist? If not, why not? There already is a channel at Dailymotion with 19 videos as we write: YouTube may not use an open source codec, but it is an incredibly popular search engine and affiliate-propagation tool, see:


2. First video would be a 60-second TV-style ad explaining

... what Sugar is (leverage OLPC brand-awareness!)

... that it is free

... what you need to run it

... how you get a copy to install

3. Every time a pitch (q.v. below) is created, a YouTube video record of same is made. The YouTube version can add stills or short video clips to a talking head.


Short, 1-page elevator pitches to sell Sugar to various audiences. Not formalized, but the homepage ( is the best starting point. Marketing Team/Pitches

See Marketing Team/Logo.


Ongoing discussion. See Marketing Team/Name


Several slogan options are available at Marketing Team/Slogan.