Creating an Open Source Business Model

July 29, 2020

As most of you already know, Tom Hatch created a very popular and widely used open source platform called “Salt”. He didn’t create this platform with the goal of starting a company. Tom simply created an answer to a problem that he was having.

Salt became popular very quickly and as that popularity continued to grow, he began to wonder if it was something he could use to create a business and generate income.  So, how did he do it?

Creating an open source business model is both dangerous and extremely difficult. Not many people in their right mind would try to make money by leveraging a product the people can get for free, right? Well, that’s exactly what Tom did. In this episode of The Hacks, Chunga and Tom discuss the dangers and potential upside of building a business model for an open source product.

The open source business model

As host Jimmy Chunga puts it, “How does one create open source? How does one turn that into a business, how does one maintain it and keep it running? The open-source business model is something that I think is dangerous. It’s dangerous because it maintained by a community. You create it, then its expanded upon, it built on, and its maintained by a community. So why would people teen want to try and use this as a business model? I’m going to create something, I’m going to put it out in the wild so that is available everwhere for free, and I’m going to try and turn that into a business.”

SaltStack cofounder Tom Hatch replies that “one of the first problems that you run into is that I didn’t make software from the beginning thinking that I was going to make a business. I made software to solve an engineering problem. And that’s one of the ways that you make really good software.”

Hear the conversation in full–listen now!

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