What's Our Secret Sauce and What Should Be Open Sourced?

My aunt Mary makes a mean cheese cake, which was why it was always instantly eaten at all of our annual family gatherings. For years we begged her to share her secret recipe, but our requests were denied and we had to wait until the next Holiday. Decades later, she would give it away to anyone that would ask. Why wouldn't she? One can now find 1000's of different cheesecake recipes online for free and featuring all sorts of fun and tasty variations. Nostalgia aside, there isn't anything so secret and special about that recipe anymore.

"There's a module for that!"

How often have you hit a problem or thought of a new idea for a Drupal site only to find out there is already a module with 10,000+ users? If you've been building sites for more than a year, I'd bet at least a dozen times. Does it really make sense for everyone to make their own custom solution to add Google Analytics to a site or to integrate a form with Salesforce? Probably not. These types of needs are common and therefore do not represent any real competitive advantage for a business or organization. This is where the spirit of open source shines. Common patterns and problems can be shared with the community, allowing us to stand on the shoulders of giants and focusing our time and effort on what is truly unique for each user.

The challenge is figuring out where to draw the line between what is worthy of being proprietary and what is worthy of a plugin that simply provides a means to an end. Further complicating this is that this line shifts over time. The first company to do something unique may wish to keep it private until dozens (or hundreds) of people are basically doing the same thing. At that point it's only a matter of time before people begin to pool their resources together to solve it together so they can get back to investing their time and energy what differentiates their business.

This presentation will cover the following topics:

  • Wardley Maps: How solutions evolve from Genesis┬áto custom, to a product, and finally to a commodity.
  • How and Why Open Source CMS's like Drupal and WordPress are winning the CMS war.
  • Finding the Line: How to determine what is proprietary and what is commonplace.
  • Looking at the future: Is the time ripe for an open source Drupal hosting PaaS?
  • Evolving Business Models: How to adapt as your industry changes.
30 minutes
Speaker(s): rickmanelius Time: July 29th - CAMP 9:30am-9:55am Room: Room 213 Track: Business and Open Source