Early today, just after my morning run, my brother forwarded to me an article from the NYT about making money with Open Source software. For many in the tech community, this is a bit of old news. The summary version is that you really can’t make money with free software. Stated simply, people want something to help them get their job done, not free software. Think about names like MySQL, Drupal and yes SugarCRM, all fit into this category.
How are these Topics Related to Each Other?
Get a software project going that outsiders can work on, and with your own team sell proprietary stuff that makes the open source project actually useful.
What About Social Networks?
LinkedIn is successfully manipulating me. I’m spending more and more time on the site, viewing more pages, contributing more data (including data about other people) and ultimately driving up LinkedIn’s advertising revenue. At the same time though, LinkedIn is delivering less and less of what made it valuable to me in the first place.
The summary version is that Facebook announced its numbers yesterday and they tell an interesting story. Looked at from a yearly perspective, $11B (yes, B) in annualized advertising revenue 1/6 of the total Television advertising number. These platforms, whether we are talking about Open Source or Social Networks were built by the early adopters, but they were not meant for us. In the open source world, there will always be the purists. However, mainstream business really just wants something that works and they prefer not to have to build it themselves – sorry. In the world of social networks, just deal with it, complain if you are paying, or move on – obnoxious, maybe.
Yes, I had my own small part in both, but I learned a lot, so it is ok. I disconnected FourSquare, yesterday, no interest in Swarm, but I like Slack. This is all about value exchange, and I will continue to play, learn and adopt or adapt as needed. I will skip Snapchat, dabble on Instagram and well…see what comes along next. One additional point, one of the biggest differences between the first Internet bubble and where we are now, is that companies can now quickly spin up servers in the cloud, which by the way, is all based on OS. Open Source enabled a whole generation of innovation (including many of the Social Networks referenced), we cannot lose sight of this point.
(x-Published on Linkedin)