The best startups have a ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude. When a problem arises, no one get’s assigned the task to solve it. The team jumps right in and gets to work. There’s always a sense of ownership and a sense of pride. They build new things because it’s cool. They think of ways to make things better and make it happen. They are the ‘Makers’, and for lack of a better word, they make $hit happen.
This is my third startup. Or maybe my fourth, I’m not sure but it gets hazy after a while. What I do know is that if I ever do another startup, I’ll use open source to make it happen.
Let me explain with a bit of back history.
I’ve been think a lot about open source lately. I’ve also been thinking of closed source and open core too.
All those words. What do they mean? Why does it sound so important and confusing at the same time?
I’m back in sales now and you can say that I sell ‘AI’. What a strange thing to say, sell AI. I help sell support and Driverless AI.
Support for what?
I sell support for the open source offering called H2O-3.
Wait, it’s open source right? Why isn’t it free?
It is free.
We all love free.
Free, free, free, I can do whatever I want and use it wherever I want!
That’s right. You can use it for free. All over the place.
The community develops it. They make the fixes and H2O.ai keeps developing it too.
So many other Data Science platforms use H2O-3 in their backends and make money from it. H2O-3 has enabled companies to make BILLIONS of dollars from free.
Bad Business Strategy
Is open source a bad business strategy. It can be. Is this the case here? No.
Good open source products are ok. Awesome open source products level the field. They destroy competition before it begins.
So many ‘open source’ companies just build one open source product and then quickly build closed source products to make money.
I get it, you have investors. You want to keep the lights on. You build one lone tree and try to call it forest.
Raise a Forest
Raise a forest not just a tree. https://t.co/Na6nXkO4g0
— srisatish (@srisatish) October 17, 2018
H2O-3 is free. So is Flow. So is Sparkling Water and H2O4GPU.
So many companies use this with Scala, Python, and R. Thousands upon thousands of companies use these tools in production and make tons of money from it.
Years ago H2O planted seedlings that have now grown into a strong and vibrant forest. Every once in a while a forester needs to come and trim a few branches. That’s the support we sell, and we sell it well. We’ve built the ecosystem and we lovingly tend to it.
Sometimes a tree dies and returns to the earth from whence it came. It makes room for a new seedling. This one is called Driverless AI.
It’s closed source, it’s product. It has all the power of the open source stuff but with more.
It’s cutting edge.
Machine learning interpretability.
Much, much more.
You could build your own Driverless AI if you want. The free tools are out there.
But do you understand the ecosystem? Do you know where to trim the branches and on what tree?
Do you know the seldom traveled forest path to get to where you want to go?
This blog is open source
All my tutorials on RapidMiner helped me become who I am today. The giving of my time and myself to answer questions and create tutorials have help countless of organizations adopt RapidMiner and use it to make money.
I benefited from it by working for RapidMiner for 3 years. I transformed my career into something wonderful. Thank you all. I really mean that.
I’ve met so many awesome people. Inspired.
I’ve made so many incredible friends.
Don’t be confused
Don’t be confused. Open source is altruistic giving. It’s for something greater than yourself.
It’s a mission. It’s for the hearts and minds of people. For you.
Take your idea. What you love.
Throw it out to the universe and it will come back to you a thousand fold.
One tree makes thousands of seeds.
All you need to do is spread them.