How we're Trying to Build an Ecosystem, Step by Step
One of the things that I love about Open Source Software (OSS) is the opportunity to have people build things around and on top of your product. Ideally, this can become a whole ecosystem of tools and services.
We're far away from being an ecosystem, but in the last few days, some cool things happened that made me write this post:
Closed vs Open Systems
Frankly, there are a lot of sales-driven, closed source enterprise tools out there that make way more money that we do right now. Many large companies want to be sold to and also want the assurance that they can blame someone if there is a bug. This gets a little more difficult (to explain) with OSS than with SaaS behind "closed doors".
And there is nothing wrong with building a closed system, it's just not something Alex and I would build. We believe in "legacy over short-term profit" (mentioned in a previous newsletter) and that building an open, community-driven product will pay off at the end of the day. We believe that being at the center of a committed, caring community gives us an information advantage in an early market like this.
Building an Ecosystem, Step by Step
I touched some topics about open source contributions in a previous newsletter (5 Insights from Building an Open-Source Community), so let's focus on some of the things that I think need to be done to transition from community to ecosystem:
- Make a product that people are using heavily, not just once every few weeks (people are not searching for time-saving plugins when they're not confronted with the product regularly)
- Make the product easily extensible (e.g. plugins, integrations)
- Allow people to make money on top of your product (e.g. through a marketplace)
- Provide a place for practitioners to meet, both online and offline
Those are just a few ideas. I'm curious what you think!