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Making a Career out of Open Source

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Presented at: Open Source 101 - Columbia 2019
Presented by: Peter Zaitsev, Percona

April 18th, 2019
Columbia, SC, USA

Published in: Technology
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Making a Career out of Open Source

  1. 1. © 2019 Percona. 1 Peter Zaitsev, CEO, Percona Making a Career out of Open Source April 18, 2019 Open Source 101 Columbia, SC
  2. 2. © 2019 Percona. 2 About Peter Zaitsev and Percona Early Staff member of MySQL AB Founder and CEO of Percona since 2006 100% Free and Open Source Software Company About 180 staff members in 35 Countries Bootstrapped, No Venture Capital Used
  3. 3. © 2019 Percona. 3 Who are you ? Open Source Software Founders ? Open Source Software Contributors ? Aspiring to be ones ?
  4. 4. © 2019 Percona. 4 Premise of this talk You Love Open Source You want to make a living doing what you love
  5. 5. © 2019 Percona. 5 What is your Passion ? Open Source in general Certain “space” Certain Open Source Project
  6. 6. © 2019 Percona. 6 Basic Choices Freelance Get a Job Start a Company
  7. 7. © 2019 Percona. 7 Picking “space” and a Core Project Hot project in hot space generates a lot of opportunities They may, or may not last
  8. 8. © 2019 Percona. 8 Bet on a Winner “Winner Takes it All” May be more than one, but small number of Technologies
  9. 9. © 2019 Percona. 9 Ecosystem Core Project Creates “ecosystem” Opportunity for many smaller projects to thrive Think Linux, PostgreSQL, Hadoop, Kubernetes ecosystems
  10. 10. © 2019 Percona. 10 Niche in Thriving Ecosystem Can be great focus for Independent Developer
  11. 11. © 2019 Percona. 11 Open Source Project vs Product Any code on Github can be called Open Source Project Many Projects are focused on their Developer(s) Developer writes what he feels that May not care about documentation, compatibility, QA May not care about user and customer support
  12. 12. © 2019 Percona. 12 Product – Commitment to Users and Customers Clear Licensing Lifecycle, Compatibility Promise, Upgrades Builds/Packages Documentation Free or Commercial Support, Bug/Issue Handling Security Issues Remediation Quality Assurance
  13. 13. © 2019 Percona. 13 What is your interest ? Not Every developer interested in the everything it takes to do the product
  14. 14. © 2019 Percona. 14 Looking into the Choices
  15. 15. © 2019 Percona. 15 Freelance – Positives Easy to get started Chose what projects to take Can try part time while having other job Can start our own project paid by customers Can develop long term customers and make a good living
  16. 16. © 2019 Percona. 16 Freelance – Negatives Actually Writing Code may be small part Finding Customers, Negotiating, Collecting, Admin takes a lot of time Many small customers – high overhead one large customer – risky Burnout is common
  17. 17. © 2019 Percona. 17 Take a Job Company Using Open Source Software Company releasing Internal Software as OpenSource Company Building Open Source Software Product
  18. 18. © 2019 Percona. 18 Company Using Open Source Software Widest Choice of Companies May be able to contribute some code to Open Source Projects Contribution Policies vastly different between companies Ask on the interview if it is important for you Some companies may restrict contribution even in your free time Contribute to the projects with Bugs Reports, Documentation etc
  19. 19. © 2019 Percona. 19 Company Releasing Internal Open Source
  20. 20. © 2019 Percona. 20 Company Releasing Internal Open Source Contribute Code to Open Source Project Often Focus is Internal Customers Community Participation and Personal Brand Development Start the Company based on such product in the future
  21. 21. © 2019 Percona. 21 Company Building Open Source Product Focus on building Open Source or somewhat Open Source Software Customer Focus in the Product
  22. 22. © 2019 Percona. 22 Company Stage Early Stage • Be at the Project Roots • More Influence • More Risk • Variety of Roles • Growth Potential • Equity Later Stage • Stability • Clear Processes • Less Influence • More Corporate
  23. 23. © 2019 Percona. 23 Start Your Own Company Not just Engineering Skills needed! Are you Entrepreneur ? Do you have Business Minded Co-Founder ? Marketing and Selling is a hard job which Engineers often do not appreciate
  24. 24. © 2019 Percona. 24 Do you need to be Project Founder ? It helps a lot but it is not a requirement RedisLabs great example of company which was NOT started by Redis founder
  25. 25. © 2019 Percona. 25 Basic Choices Services Company Product Company
  26. 26. © 2019 Percona. 26 Services Company Can grow out of individual freelancing Can be relatively easy to bootstrap Easy to maintain Independence/Complete Control Low Margin Quite Competitive Business Can be great Lifestyle company but unlikely $1B “exit”
  27. 27. © 2019 Percona. 27 Product Company Build Product around Open Source Project Funding (Often Venture Capital) is typically required Products are often only partially Open Source If Successful Very large exits are possible
  28. 28. © 2019 Percona. 28 Current Company Market Capitalization Elastic - $6B Cloudera - $2.9B MongoDB - $7.2B Pivotal - $4.9B RedHat sold to IBM for $34B
  29. 29. © 2019 Percona. 29 Whatever Path you Chose Invest in Building Personal Brand
  30. 30. © 2019 Percona. 30 Some Ideas • Blog ? Podcast ? YouTube ChannelProduce Content • IRC/Slack Channels, Forums, ConferencesParticipate In Community • Even self published book looks really goodWrite a Book • Maintain Great GitHub ProfileWrite Some Code • Develop Offline Network, Twitter Following, LinkedIn ConnectionsGet Social
  31. 31. © 2019 Percona. 31 Join Us at Percona Live https://www.percona.com/live/19/ Percona Live 2019takes place in Austin, Texas fromMay 28-30,2019atthe Hyatt Regency. Percona Live provides an opportunity to network with peers and technology professionals. Mingle with all types of database community members: DBAs, developers, C-level executives and the latest database technology trend-setters. TICKETSONSALE!
  32. 32. © 2019 Percona. 32 Thank You!

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