My guests this week are Jeremiah Lowin and Chetan Puttagunta. Jeremiah is the founder of Prefect.io, an open-source software company where my family and I are investors, and Chetan is a partner at Benchmark Capital. Both are past guests and good friends. I asked them on to help the audience understand the open source software business model. I’ve been fascinated with this model in which companies give a huge chunk of their work and value away for free to a community of developers, and then make money by building additional tools, functionality, and services on top of their free and open platform. While this may strike you as a wonky discussion on a niche software topic, I think it is valuable for everyone because the ideas can be applied to more than just code. I view much of my own activity as open-sourcing investment research and knowledge. It is also important because much of the world’s technology is built on top of open source projects. I hope you learn something new about this emerging category. Please enjoy.
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(2:40) – (First question) – Originator business in open source software; Redhat
(5:51) – Why open source is valuable in building a business
(7:40) – Examples of the benefits of open source projects
(10:27) – Open source business models that produce the best results
(17:04) – Defensibility of open source companies
(25:02) – Mentoring younger founders on using open-source
(30:54) – The benefits of launching open-source
(36:41) – Building a digital community
(41:31) – Lessons from Open Source that can be applied to other businesses
(50:04) – The opportunity sets available in the open source space
(53:33) – Future of open source
(56:31) – Tobi Lutke Podcast Episode