Open Source Product Strategy with Shaun Connolly

Linux has created much more value for Google than it has for Linus Torvalds. Ruby on Rails has created more value for Airbnb than it has for David Heinemeier Hansson. Successful open source projects create more value than their creators’ capture–and that’s one reason why collections of people on the Internet are often inspired to work together on open source.

When an engineer creates an open source project, and that open source project finds a large audience, that engineer can often build a successful business. SpringSource, Cloudera, and Elastic are examples of massively successful enterprises that were founded by the creators of open source software. But in other cases, the value of an open source project gets largely captured by cloud providers that create a closed source version of the open source project and offer it as a service.

Shaun Connolly has worked in senior strategic roles at software companies such as SpringSource, VMWare, and Hortonworks. Throughout his decades of experience, much of his time has been spent figuring out how to monetize open source projects intelligently. Shaun joins the show to talk about his past experiences building enterprises, as well as modern issues–such as how to compete with major cloud providers. We also discuss the Commons Clause license, a new software license that open source projects can use to try to protect their value from being entirely captured by a cloud provider.

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Transcript

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