FOSS Strategic thinking: Put on the BI Reality Headset

BI in the title refers to Big Industry. Just for shits and giggles, some food for thought. Isn’t it fascinating to consider:

  • Why Volkswagen can have huge factory plants, deliver multiple car models in rapid succession, customized for the cllient. All done on a hyper complex coordinated production line, depending on a huge supply chain involving 1,000’s of vendors from across the world? → Then be perfectly profitable thoughout that entire chain?

  • And on the other hand compare that to a modest FOSS project with a good team of maintainers and contributors and a mid-size community → And hardly earn a dime? Let alone be in any way sustainable.

We might ridicule Elon Musk for being a narcissistic egomaniac (which he is), but he pulled off multiple huge industry challenges (I know there’s background story… OT here).

Why is this the case?

  1. Evil capitalism fault? → Yea, plays a role… only in part. Principles + values roadblock only?
  2. FOSS project’s fault? → Yea, most projects govern mostly the tech side, not far beyond.
  3. FOSS people’s fault? → Yea, as projects show, tech gets most attention, biz-savvy lacking
  4. FOSS community + ecosystem fault? → Wouldn’t here be a lot of under-attention?

How would you hang percentages on these bullet points?
What other high-level causes are missing in the list?

Aaand → How would you build such LibreFOSSWagen supply line? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Just joking. Forget the supply line and the scale, but:

Imagine how would we get to similar amounts of collective collaboration based on grassroots dynamics of the Commons? Is that possible even?

Wait, not Business Intelligence? :confused:

Related read might be

Part of the Open Organization series over there.

I unsubscribed sadly, when more Web3 articles appeared lately.

Gist is: Open Source components are usually not high value to business. Instead, they are common challenges that are better tackled in the open with more hands available.

1 Like

Good article. There’s indeed a bunch of decision-making criteria mentioned that will play a role in e.g. the auto industry in similar ways. And there are ties with those and what strategic ecosystem alliances should dedicate to, in order to gain benefit / deliver most value.

Example: How do you decide having a dependency on an external library and its FOSS project, where the library is missing some features?

  1. Contribute PR’s?
  2. Fork, extend and maintain
  3. Strategically cooperate (a less walked path, imho)

If choosing 3, and doing it for many dependencies/projects, then how do you manage it best? → Ecosystem alliance is about finding the optimum for all members.

I had and have to work in automotive industry but my contract forbids me to share details :crying_cat_face:

I have rephrased this thought experiment to fit into a toot:

And here’s that text again (bit more than 500 chars):

Why is it that Big Industry can profitably exploit large factory plants producing highly complex products that require huge global supply lines to numerous external parties …

And yet small initiatives struggle to keep afloat, in ever harder conditions to be able to eek out a decent living. An upside-down world where Big is profitable, Small seems unsustainable.