From craft beers to image-sharing websites to MySQL databases and yes, to Adafruit (thanks!), here’s a nice compilation by Jaime Arredondo for Bold & Open that begins with the pitfalls of open-source companies but quickly turns to a few success stories. This is the kind of thing after reading I get so inspired I want to go and make a company just to open-source it – but wait wait, re-read his opening few paragraphs and then remember: yup, I need a biz plan first! Also that’s when you realize it’s as much about community as it is about service and sales. OK here we go:
At some point, every professional developer or designer has to turn the corner from developer-scratching-his-itch to entrepreneur-trying-to-build-a-profitable-business. The key change along the way? Start making money by building a product or service and selling it to your audience at a price that makes sense.
Maybe you’re on that journey right now. Perhaps you’ve just cracked the code on making your first dollar. Or maybe your business has just finished its most profitable year ever. Regardless, understanding the many faces of open source business is the key to turning any open source project into a business and growing that business over time.
An open source project is not a business. But it can be one of the best ways to build an audience that will buy the products and services you have for sale. Step one: make your first, or next, product or service.
Today we’re going to see how different open source projects have bridged this problem: In other words, we cover the fundamentals of turning an open source project into a business. There might not be a more important topic when it comes to helping you make a living as a professional open source entrepreneur.