FOSS Entrepreneurship and Business By: Ahmed Mekkawy AKA linuxawy Founder | CTO – Spirula Systems firstname.lastname@example.org
FOSS● Free Open Source Software● Free Software is a philosophical idea, a social movement, based on consumers rights● Open Source software is a practical development methodology, looking from the developers perspective● Philosophy vs. Practicality? why not both?
Entrepreneurship● Whos an entrepreneur?● Let me tell you a secret, Im considered an entrepreneur and Im not sure what it is, I even miss-spell it all the time.● Entrepreneur creates a startup company, so what is a startup company?
Startup Company● Great idea ( or so it seems ).● Low fund.● Small team with high ownership.● Unstable, quick changes.● Having fun.● Non-experienced team, lots of mistakes.● High learning curve.
Who Can Do That?● Creative and smart.● Able to realize his idea.● Workaholic? not a must, but a hard worker.● Hunger to success.● Positive and optimistic.● Accepts challenges, and accepts failures as well.
Company Output● Products.● Services.● (Infrastructure|platform|software) as a service.
How To Get Funded?● First, when will you need to get funded?● Stages of funding: 3F, seed, angel, VC.● Exit strategies: IPO, sell to a big fish, no exit.● What to prepare to get funded ● Idea, idea, idea ● Core team ● Business Plan ● Lots of caffeine ● Everything that could cheer you up
Bad Practice - Business● It seems great, people will like it. But Im not sure how to make money from it – twitter style● It exists all around, and generates profit, so Im guaranteed to win – supermarket style● Its already made 100 times, thats why its not gonna fail this time – el kabda el dameya style● I dont have an idea, but Im passionate about having my own startup, so Ill search for anything that seems promising – no style
Unethical Behavior - FOSS● Capitalize the community efforts with some marketing strategies, than Im gonna donate 0.0001% of my profit to them – ***** style● Gonna claim that Im supporting FOSS only by letting it run on my platform – ********* style● Gonna be a FOSS black hole, only taking community efforts, giving almost nothing back, or giving very tiny stuff – ****** style
So What Should I Do?● Think of a win-win situation, in both aspects: FOSS and business.● FOSS created a funny community, producers are consumers and consumers are producers. Your startup is a consumer (using FOSS), dont forget to be a FOSS producer.● Direct your passion to success not money, and direct your success to be useful, not to take more.
Bottom LineBalance between paying back yourdebt to the community, serving yourcustomers, and benefiting theshareholders is the key – dont lost it
Spirula as an Example● Founded February 2010● A long shot, at a tight timing● Self fund, very tight bootstrapping● Started with one employee: me● Started in a single room, stayed there for more than than 18 months
Spirula Success● ROI after 12 months.● Handled massive projects, like referendum and elections, akhbarak & al-akhbar, taghyeer.net & elbaradei2011, meedan, alsaha, eglug, nezal, and supermama.● Very good reputation.● Employees number doubled 7 times.● Our own office now :)
How?● Rare service in the area.● Addressing existing need.● Solid technical background.● Community activities.● No tolerance towards ethics.● Focusing on success more than profit: Dont look under your shows (unless you have to).● Patience: Dont Panic.
About● Following the professional open source business model, and embracing free software values, Spirula aims to support the small to medium business to switch its IT infrastructure - or part of it - to the use of open source software.● Supporting the local free/open source software communities is a commitment that we have taken upon ourselves, as without such communities all the software we use would not exist.
Vision & Mission● Vision: To support and encourage business decision makers in adopting Free/Open Source Software, by offering high quality, reliable, and affordable services.● Mission: To give systems and infrastructure services to small to medium businesses, while targeting the local market , the MENA region, and the whole world.● Slogan: Openly managing and securing your digital world.