A month ago I did an exciting journey to Portland, to present two talks in the field of Open Source business strategy. One at OSCON, and the other was a keynote session at the Community Leadership Summit.
O'Reilly does an awesome job recording all the talks in Oscon, and they let the speakers download and share a copy of their own talk. Thank you O'Reilly! The CLS talk was also recorded, but I haven't seen it published yet. The Kaltura guys do all of the filming and post production on the side of their day jobs, which is a respectable amount of work to do for the community. I'll update this post when the video does become available.
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.
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.
For reasons that I will blog about in a couple of weeks, several people last week asked me what I think about open core. My answer was that nowadays I don't care much about the topic. Long time readers of this blog might be surprised at such an answer, so I thought this was a good time to reflect on why I don't think it is very important anymore, and more importantly to document the empirical evindence that we now have about open core as a business strategy.
Here are the slides of the talk I just gave at Froscon. (Video should be available soon.)
I found a very interesting blog post today: Open Source IaaS Community Analysis. It is a statistical analysis into forum/mailing-list traffic of the 4 major private cloud open source projects: OpenStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus and Cloudstack. While I have never met or read anything from the author, qyjohn, it seems we actually worked at Sun at the same time :-)
For a casual follower - like me - of these four cloud projects, the post is interesting in many ways. But for anyone interested in open source business models it is very interesting indeed. Readers of this blog will remember my research from 2010: How to grow your open source project 10x and revenues 5x. The research showed that 9 out of 9 Xtra Large projects are all governed through foundations, whereas the best performing open source codebases owned by a single vendor have developer communities that are roughly 10x smaller. Based on this observation I made this recommendation: