Open Source Entrepreneurship Training

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There are unique features of open source product development, and enterprise development in general, that are not like Business as Usual. Understanding these features can help many people (who would oherwise make a proprietary product) to join the open source product development paradigm. I have observed a number of people assume that they will be soon 'making millions.' Unless one is an entrepreneur at heart, one is deluded into thinking they will make it big - becuase bigness typically carries with it challenges and compromises that are not savory. Exposing these misconceptions is likely to attract more people to the open source product development route, with its inherent drive for zero competitive waste.

Some of my main lessons are:

  1. There is a huge difference between vision and ability to execute that vision - and that is the world of enterprise management.
  2. There is a huge difference between a first prototype and a working product.
  3. There is a huge difference between a working product and a working enterprise.
  4. There is a huge difference between a working enterprise and a Distributive Enterprise.
  5. Distributive Enterprise as an economic paradigm can lead to Distributed Market Domination, what was known in the American experiment as Jeffersonian democracy.
  6. There are at least 3 major levels of open source: first, the product design can be open source. Second, the business model can be open source - when a company publishes all of its operational, revenue, process, revenue model, strategy, etc. openly - such that others can replicate the enterprise. Third, an organization may be open source - an organization that publishes its business model and all supporting information such that others can replicate what that organization does.
  7. There are 9 Forms of Capital, where Open Source Capital is the most important from the OSE perspective.
  8. Distributive Enterprise is one of the Viral Replicability Criteria.

Other lessons are:

  1. Venture Indenture - getting funded by venture capitalists, and for that matter by anyone who has at least a slight bit of conflict of interest with initial intents - typically carries with it mission drift that takes a company away from its initial mission and ideals. Typically, initial owners lose control over the direction of the company, unless governance assures full control by the founders. Thus, the proper response to someone getting funded by venture capitalists may be, "I'm sorry to hear that" for the reason that this typically means losing control.
  2. "Getting fundend" is not necessarily a good thing for society - unless the enterprise is doing good work. There are many examples of destructive enterprises, so thinking that "getting funded" is equivalent to "doing worthwhile work" may be a mistake.
  3. Open Source is a collaborative development methodology. It is separate from a 'business model.' A proprietary or open source company both need a 'business model,' and because the guiding values of open source and proprietary companies may be different, the resulting business models may look quite different.
  4. Contrary to what many think, open source allows people to make money. Open source is a methodology for development and publishing product designs openly. Business models such as simple product sales can be based on open source products - such as Lulzbot, which is growing 800% per year in 2015 and is currently at the $10M/year revenue mark.