open life blog
Last Friday noonish, I was back at PDX. I had decided to invest in the Thursday night parties - to strengthen those bonds of friendship that are the backbone of the open source community - then sleep, pack and take the light rail to the airport in the morning, skipping the remaining Friday morning conference sessions. I had already been at the convention center 6 days in a row, figured it would be enough for now.
Vacation is almost over - and it's still 17 degrees outside :-( It's time to start packing for Portland.
I'm as excited as ever, since this year I'm delivering 2 talks. Both fall into the category which is a long time passion of mine - open source community and business. It's refreshing to not have to talk about databases for once :-)
The Community Leadership Summit is mostly an unconference, but in recent years have started adding short 15 minute pre-arranged talks. (Kind of like morning keynotes, even if they don't call them that.) On Sunday the 19th, I will be do a talk called Open Source Governance Models Revisited.
Last week passed the 5th anniversary of the closing of Oracle's acquisition of MySQL. That also means that the 5 year term of the infamous 10 commitments to MySQL users that Oracle made to the EU commission expire.
Since I work for another database technology nowadays, I have made a point of not blogging about MySQL related issues anymore (and mostly do not follow MySQL close enough to say anything wise). But in 2009 I was so closely involved in the EU investigation into the Oracle-Sun merger, that I feel this is a topic I could write a retrospective on. For nostalgic reasons if nothing else... In any case, these commitments have very little practical relevance in 2015 anyway, so anything in this blog post is clearly more historical than about current state of anything in MySQL land.
On New Years Eve I wrote some random reflections about life and business. This is a followup with more thoughts I've remembered since I wrote that.
Obviously in personal life, but also in business, I've found that my integrity - and a reputation of having integrity - is the most valuable capital I have.
I've even resigned a job to avoid a situation where my role would have included making public statements that turned out to be misleading. While it was a risk, in hindsight it was 100% worth it.
It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission
New Year is a perfect time for reflecting on past and future and my life in general. Here are some thoughts, mostly from a work life perspective, that I've collected over several years.
All links are to books I've found inspiring and highly recommend.
Value to our shareholders
When I go to work in the morning, not once did I start my day with the words: Today is a great day to create some value to the shareholders of my employer.
Value to the customer
Every exec with a tie can recite "we should provide value to the customer". This is an empty statement. It doesn't include any information about what is actually important to their customer. It doesn't mean they actually know what their customers need, nor value.
The big picture
A couple readers both reacted my previous blog with more or less the same words: This is great, but what about the level of mission criticality of the use case? Surely you should count that as a third variable since it impacts the likelihood of a user becoming a paying customer?
So, yesterday I wrote about what the sales funnel looks like when selling open source software, compared to what it used to look like when we sold closed source software. In this post I will build on that theory with some practical conclusions. (I assume you've read the first post.)
Why modeling your business matters
When running a business we need to do budgeting and other planning related activities. If you don't, you'll probably run out of money at some point. Also the point of planning is to capture as much of the business potential out there as possible. For example, to sell 5MEUR next year, do we need 5 sales managers or 6? (...and, can we afford 6?)
Since I joined MongoDB it seems I have mostly been doing technical blogs. Yesterday I had a conversation with a long time friend from the open source database scene, which inspired me to jot down some observations on my long time favorite topic: open source business strategy.
In fact, this will be very much a Selling Open Source 101 blog. I've come to realize that while what I'm about to write is well known to open source oldtimers, those of us who were lucky to work at Red Hat and MySQL and other first generation open source companies, these ideas are not necessarily well known to many executives and sales managers working in open source today.