This week I attended an Open Source CEO dinner put on by Andrew Aitken of the Olliance Group and Mark Radcliffe of DLA Piper. What struck me at this dinner was how relaxed and interesting it was.
Following the management maxim, "the fish rots from the head down" I conclude from my dinner that the open source industry itself is a kinder, gentler place. Here are a few thoughts on why this would be so:
- Collaboration is a business mindset. Open source CEOs don't see every other CEO/company as an enemy in their zero-sum strategy to take over the known software universe. They bring a community-minded approach not just to their technical work but also to their business activities.
- Open source popularity is based on customer pull, not PR push. The popularity of an open source company is measured by SourceForge, not by amount of hot air emitted by the CEO and their PR machine. I don't meant to imply that these CEOs cannot be as arrogant as their proprietary brethren, just that they don't get the opportunity to spout off if nobody is downloading their products. Proprietary company CEOs can spout off as long as they can find a VC to foot the bill.