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Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie
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Break out: Incubation & Venturing - Bruno lowagie

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  • 1. WeBBT 2011 iText®, an open source PDF library1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 2. What is iText®?iText is a PDF engine for web and other apps• Enhance web apps with PDF functionality Google – Real-time reporting, database publishing,…• Automated creation of PDF documents Belgacom – Invoices, bank statements, personalized letters… Ghent• Benefit from document interactivity University – Filling out forms, adding digital signatures,… Manning• Split, concatenate, manipulate PDF pages• PDF for Android, for the Cloud,… HP• …1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 3. The TheoryHOW TO TELL THE OPEN SOURCEWINNERS FROM THE LOSERS 1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 4. 9-point check list• Article by Charles Babcock “How To Tell The Open Source Winners From The Losers”1. A thriving community2. Disruptive goals3. A benevolent dictator4. Transparency5. Civility6. Documentation7. Employed developers8. A clear license9. Commercial support http://www.informationweek.com/news/1970029531T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 5. The practiceTHIS WORKED FOR ME,IT MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU 1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 6. No money? No worries!If you choose to release your product as F/OSS• Don’t expect to make money rightaway• You can protect your copyright: Disruptive – Other companies can’t patent something that is public – Nobody can deny your ownership Transparency• You can build an online reputation: – Your work is distributed all over the whole world Community – People will mail source code patches – People will ask questions Documentation – You may get the chance to write a book – You’ll be noticed and invited at events Be a guru• Your work can be fun: Enjoy yourself – Having to worry about money often spoils the fun (make sure you have a day job) – “Pressure to succeed” is counter-productive (play “improve your ranking” as a game)All of this was true for iText between 2000 and 20061T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 7. No money! No worries?What spoiled the fun in 2007-2008? Bad luck and... success!• Who owns the code? IP Review – I was employed by Ghent University – iText has many contributors: what are the legal consequences? – There’s no such thing as “the best F/OSS license” License / CLA• Is working for free allowed? – You’re trying to escape taxes, aren’t you? Employ yourself• The danger of “the author = the product” – Personal tragedies (e.g. Cancer) – Dear Lowagie. I have problem. IS URGENT! – Am I responsible when something goes wrong? No, but...• It’s no longer fun – Negative publicity: “Bruno has lost his marbles” Civility? – Everybody wants a piece of you – Too much contradictory advice (e.g. about innovation). How to filter?iText was at a turning point. How did we solve these problems?1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 8. No money? No business!2009-2010, the years of professionalization!• Learn more about entrepreneurship – Seminars and events – iText iBoot team (alternatives: iStep, iVenture,...)• Put the IP in a company Ownership – We moved from lowagie.com to itextpdf.com – Delegate responsibilities. E.g. I’m not the CEO! Leadership• Start selling on commission Make money – Licenses = recurring revenue – Support = useful feedback (can be labor-intensive) Offer support• Spend money to earn money – Hire the right people Pay developers – Pay for specific advice: legal, fiscal, technical,...• Expand! E.g. start selling consultancy (but don’t lose focus)Are we there yet? No, but the fun is back in 2011!1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 9. My personal advice• Take care of your own babies (plural) – Don’t worry too much, but be a good parent – Don’t pay for advice, you know what’s best for your babies! – Give your babies sufficient time to grow, give yourself time to gain experience – Spend your energy on documentation, not on justification• Survive the puberty of a baby (singular) – Don’t indulge yourself! Do your homework! (IP, license, CLA,...) – Make mistakes and learn from them – Spend money, but try not to spend more than you earn – Don’t try to please everyone, make choices and get your story straight!• Treat your baby as an adult – Stay true to your goal, and find people who share your dream – Make yourself replaceable, not by another person but by a team; be the glue of that team – Spend the money you make, and you’ll make more money – Emotionally, the product remains your baby, but prepare to say goodbye1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/
  • 10. My inspirationAt the age of 18, I copied this quote from a book: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.Walden or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau1T3XT BVBA, the iText Company http://itextpdf.com/

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