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Stay Up
Journey of a Free Software
Company
One decade in search
for a sustainable model
CONTINUOUS
AUDITING & CONFIGURATIONFrançois Armand @fanf42
2018-12-06
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 2
It’s the story of 4 friends, one decade ago...
“We can do better than that”
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 3
Our journey, until now...
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Today
4Not really a start-up. No fundraising. No hyper-growth.
CTO
Free Software
François Armand
Inception ~10 years ago
Founder in FLOSS ~15 years
Devops ~10 years (beginning)
Deployed on ten of
thousands of servers
Labels
clients
Continuous configuration
and audit
Co-fondateur
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 5
Color code
Question,
Initial idea
Problems
met
Lessons
learned
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 6
In search for a business model
~ heureux qui comme Ulysse ~
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Business
model
7
⇒ “support” business model
▪ A totally Free Software
▪ “Pro-support” for companies
Our constraints
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Business
model
▪ Not simple. Not repeatable.
▪ Dissonance in our time valuation maximisation:
8
“Boss, I just paid $50,000 for something I could have gotten free of charge."
You can't do that.
You must say, "I just paid $50,000 for something we uniquely get as a paying
customer." You must build that differentiation.
Marten Mickos, past MySQL CEO
“
”
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Business
model
Features (access, sponsorship)
And maintenance (LTS)
9
?
Users Buyers Spent time / value created
}
1. Choose your battles
○ “Enterprise” plugins ⇏ bad FLOSS citizens
2. Sustainable business model
3. Testable selling model (much simpler)
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 10
The mountain of the terrible VC
~ gold and other wonders ~
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Fundraising
11
“We are a start-up!
We must raise
funds!”
(and the fundraising is what tells
you’re hype, right?)
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 12
VC vs novice startupper
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Fundraising
▪ Optimisation metric: VALUATION
▪ Goal: hyper-growth
▪ Focus focus focus focus
▪ VC: by default, in a position of strength
13
VCs, tacit contract
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Fundraising
▪ Do NOT go see a VC if you need him.
▪ YOU choose / YOUR company.
▪ One can live without fundraising.
14
NO Fundraising for US
⇒core values
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 15
Wise advisors around you
(who kick your ass when needed)
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Coaches and
other
advisors
That’s it! We
created a
company!
16
… And… Er… What’s next?
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Coaches and
other
advisors
17
▪ Loads of classical operational thingies.
▪ Missing the best moment for planning
and strategic decisions.
▪ No good social networks.
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Coaches and
other
advisors
▪ Incubators ?
- Yes for us (saved our company): Télécom Sud Paris
- Coaching is the important part
- NOT: cheap office / contract template
18
GET ADVISORS
(coaches/incubators)
?
▪ Entrepreneurs and business people with a similar experience
▪ NO direct link with your company (not in board, not shareholders)
▪ Classical operational insights
▪ See, anticipate, and force thinking about strategy
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 19
Beginning of the adventure
~ Team, mission, told and untold things ~
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Founders,
common and
individual
goals
(missions)
“We can do better than that”
▪ Some trigger, a thought…
▪ Birth of a team ?
▪ Not alone, you go farther
▪ A mission ?
▪ Our mission - a triple will:
▪ Build a libre software, sustainable
▪ Ease cloud transition
▪ Build up a sane and respectfull work place
20
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Founders,
common and
individual
goals
(missions)
How to know if the founding
team can pass the first
stress-test ?
21
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Founders,
common and
individual
goals
(missions)
▪ Verbalize the deep motivations of each founder
▪ Explore implications of these motivations
CORE VALUES Lining Up
= beacon out of crisis
▪ Our example: importance of Free Software
=> we somehow knew the Business Model will be impacted
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 23
The Dark Mist that
devours you
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Burn out
▪ You are your worst enemy.
▪ You want TO DO. To prove you can.
▪ And there’s always 10 millions things to do.
24
Risk of burn-out
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
Burn out ▪ Prevent :
- Make yourself dispensable !
- Prioritize.
- Share your knowledge and priorities.
▪ Heal :
- Accept (CBI test - Copenhagen Burnout Inventory).
- Look for help.
- Take some distance… To better come back.
25
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 26
Our journey, until now:
our learning.
● The journey is important:
○ choose your fellowship,
○ be clear with your core values.
● Make yourself dispensable.
● Find advisors.
● Your company, your choices:
○ no mandatory path (not even a fundraising),
○ assess and assume consequences.
● Question your users/customers…
○ … and listen to their answers.
● Iterate on your learning.
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 27
Oh! That’s original!
One more thing...
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 28
Our journey, until now.
Lifted by Free Software.
Here
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 29
Free Software are our
Digital Commons Goods
▪ Avoid the Tragedy of the Commons.
▪ Build and maintain sustainably
▪ Elinor Ostrom: “make everyone care”.
States
Enterprises
Communities
Users
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 30
Questions ?
@fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06
References
and links
▪ Marten Mickos, past MySQL AB CEO
- Keys to turn your open source project into a business
- https://opensource.com/business/14/9/open-source-busi
ness-models-part-2
▪ Smaug painting:
- https://alpha.wallhaven.cc/wallpaper/127439
▪ “Building a World” world map
- http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?6054
21-BAW-Chapter-1-The-Map
▪ A lot of pictures were found without reference to author or
copyrights… If you are the author of one of them, please let me
know what you want to do (quote your name/site, remove it…)
31

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Stay Up - Journey of a Free Software Company

  • 1. Stay Up Journey of a Free Software Company One decade in search for a sustainable model CONTINUOUS AUDITING & CONFIGURATIONFrançois Armand @fanf42 2018-12-06
  • 2. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 2 It’s the story of 4 friends, one decade ago... “We can do better than that”
  • 3. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 3 Our journey, until now...
  • 4. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Today 4Not really a start-up. No fundraising. No hyper-growth. CTO Free Software François Armand Inception ~10 years ago Founder in FLOSS ~15 years Devops ~10 years (beginning) Deployed on ten of thousands of servers Labels clients Continuous configuration and audit Co-fondateur
  • 5. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 5 Color code Question, Initial idea Problems met Lessons learned
  • 6. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 6 In search for a business model ~ heureux qui comme Ulysse ~
  • 7. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Business model 7 ⇒ “support” business model ▪ A totally Free Software ▪ “Pro-support” for companies Our constraints
  • 8. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Business model ▪ Not simple. Not repeatable. ▪ Dissonance in our time valuation maximisation: 8 “Boss, I just paid $50,000 for something I could have gotten free of charge." You can't do that. You must say, "I just paid $50,000 for something we uniquely get as a paying customer." You must build that differentiation. Marten Mickos, past MySQL CEO “ ”
  • 9. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Business model Features (access, sponsorship) And maintenance (LTS) 9 ? Users Buyers Spent time / value created } 1. Choose your battles ○ “Enterprise” plugins ⇏ bad FLOSS citizens 2. Sustainable business model 3. Testable selling model (much simpler)
  • 10. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 10 The mountain of the terrible VC ~ gold and other wonders ~
  • 11. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Fundraising 11 “We are a start-up! We must raise funds!” (and the fundraising is what tells you’re hype, right?)
  • 12. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 12 VC vs novice startupper
  • 13. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Fundraising ▪ Optimisation metric: VALUATION ▪ Goal: hyper-growth ▪ Focus focus focus focus ▪ VC: by default, in a position of strength 13 VCs, tacit contract
  • 14. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Fundraising ▪ Do NOT go see a VC if you need him. ▪ YOU choose / YOUR company. ▪ One can live without fundraising. 14 NO Fundraising for US ⇒core values
  • 15. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 15 Wise advisors around you (who kick your ass when needed)
  • 16. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Coaches and other advisors That’s it! We created a company! 16 … And… Er… What’s next?
  • 17. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Coaches and other advisors 17 ▪ Loads of classical operational thingies. ▪ Missing the best moment for planning and strategic decisions. ▪ No good social networks.
  • 18. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Coaches and other advisors ▪ Incubators ? - Yes for us (saved our company): Télécom Sud Paris - Coaching is the important part - NOT: cheap office / contract template 18 GET ADVISORS (coaches/incubators) ? ▪ Entrepreneurs and business people with a similar experience ▪ NO direct link with your company (not in board, not shareholders) ▪ Classical operational insights ▪ See, anticipate, and force thinking about strategy
  • 19. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 19 Beginning of the adventure ~ Team, mission, told and untold things ~
  • 20. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Founders, common and individual goals (missions) “We can do better than that” ▪ Some trigger, a thought… ▪ Birth of a team ? ▪ Not alone, you go farther ▪ A mission ? ▪ Our mission - a triple will: ▪ Build a libre software, sustainable ▪ Ease cloud transition ▪ Build up a sane and respectfull work place 20
  • 21. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Founders, common and individual goals (missions) How to know if the founding team can pass the first stress-test ? 21
  • 22. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Founders, common and individual goals (missions) ▪ Verbalize the deep motivations of each founder ▪ Explore implications of these motivations CORE VALUES Lining Up = beacon out of crisis ▪ Our example: importance of Free Software => we somehow knew the Business Model will be impacted
  • 23. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 23 The Dark Mist that devours you
  • 24. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Burn out ▪ You are your worst enemy. ▪ You want TO DO. To prove you can. ▪ And there’s always 10 millions things to do. 24 Risk of burn-out
  • 25. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 Burn out ▪ Prevent : - Make yourself dispensable ! - Prioritize. - Share your knowledge and priorities. ▪ Heal : - Accept (CBI test - Copenhagen Burnout Inventory). - Look for help. - Take some distance… To better come back. 25
  • 26. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 26 Our journey, until now: our learning. ● The journey is important: ○ choose your fellowship, ○ be clear with your core values. ● Make yourself dispensable. ● Find advisors. ● Your company, your choices: ○ no mandatory path (not even a fundraising), ○ assess and assume consequences. ● Question your users/customers… ○ … and listen to their answers. ● Iterate on your learning.
  • 27. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 27 Oh! That’s original! One more thing...
  • 28. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 28 Our journey, until now. Lifted by Free Software. Here
  • 29. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 29 Free Software are our Digital Commons Goods ▪ Avoid the Tragedy of the Commons. ▪ Build and maintain sustainably ▪ Elinor Ostrom: “make everyone care”. States Enterprises Communities Users
  • 30. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 30 Questions ?
  • 31. @fanf42 - poss - 2018-12-06 References and links ▪ Marten Mickos, past MySQL AB CEO - Keys to turn your open source project into a business - https://opensource.com/business/14/9/open-source-busi ness-models-part-2 ▪ Smaug painting: - https://alpha.wallhaven.cc/wallpaper/127439 ▪ “Building a World” world map - http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?6054 21-BAW-Chapter-1-The-Map ▪ A lot of pictures were found without reference to author or copyrights… If you are the author of one of them, please let me know what you want to do (quote your name/site, remove it…) 31