Running an Open-Source Business?! No such thing easier than that!
Let's start having a look at a founders life from the employees perspective. It's a life where you travel around the world, having dinner with superior food in nice restaurants, driving big cars and being a very important person. Please append all the additionally imaginations you might have. How about the employees life? No dinners, no big cars, a boss who tells you what to do … . Really? Being an employee is not as bad as some people might think. You regularly receive your salary at the end of the month. In most jobs, the time you have to stay in the company is regulated. I know that especially developers are highly engaged, spending more time than the daily 8 hours. But if you fail to finish a certain task, report it to your supervisor in time. Now, it's his/her problem :-) … usually, or you’re getting fired if it’s a bad timing. OK, you might get into some kind of problems if you really messed up something. But if you didn't do it on purpose, it's hard for a company to really blame you for that.
So everything is fine, isn't it?
Yeah, it is.
But if you really have the strong feeling that you want to change the world, give it a try. Let me take you on a journey, how to create a successful Open-Source Business. As a foreword, it's not only the technology that matters. In 2011, I have received the Eclipse Community Award in the category "Best Application" for my Eclipse RCP software OpenChrom . It took me ~10 years to find an appropriate Open-Source Business model. Honestly, I tapped into almost every mistake one can do. So let me share my mistakes and misinterpretations with you. I'm sure that you'll say: Why on earth did you do that!? :-). In a retro-perspective, a lot of thinks I did where stupid. But I have learned a lot. It's a known secret, programmers are smart people and software is a great opportunity to start a lean business. You just need your brain and a computer. No costs for buildings, machines, ... and so on. Luckily, most of the tools required to create your first product are Open-Source nowadays. The Eclipse Foundation plays a very important part in that role. It seems like we are living in the land of plenty. Just create an idea, implement it and you're having a multi-billion dollar business. Frankly, it needs more than that. Just having an idea isn't enough to create a successful company. So what are the ingredients to create a successful software, respectively business? It’s the customers, the team, the product, the licenses, the market, the timing, the network and many more. Even when doing Open-Source, you have to make a living of your product. Anyways, I'd like to encourage you to believe in your idea and to find a strategy how to develop it.
Let me take you on a journey of pitfalls, mistakes and hilarious problems one encounters when trying to start a business.
Here's my final remark: You can work as hard as you can, but the most important thing you need is to have perseverance and luck!