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What do O’reilly, Shuttleworth, Fogel, Wales, and a bowling alley have in common?

By John | August 15, 2007

At OSCON 2007 I asked Tim O’reilly and Mark Shuttleworth a question in the Q&A in their keynote. Being an instructor by trade affords you an extra sensory skill set in asking questions after presentations. I asked this question “Where is the free, going on here? I see a small few making a lot of money in all of this free”. After the session Karl Fogel tried to explain to me how I really didn’t understand (he is right btw, I don’t understand). A few minutes later I asked Mark Shuttleworth how does someone sell Jboss. He said that Redhat only bought the services and training. Then he started walking away. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to say that I think Redhat could have gotten a much better deal then 400 million if all they wanted was services and training. Ok, I guess we all agree to disagree. I kept asking the same question a few times during the conference and I kept getting this you are a newbie and you just don’t understand response from people. Then latter in the week I attended the “Art of Community” session and basically I asked the same question only this time crafted it a little better. In that session I asked “How do you sell a community”. I was asked to clarify my question and I said like Jboss. I was then asked Jboss as in community? I said no Jboss as in 400 million. Jimmy Wales (Wikepeda Founder) gave his bowling alley analogy. The bowling analogy is as follows:

If someone owns a bowling alley and they build up a tremendous business by creating the local bowling community does the community deserve any of the profits if the owner sells? In his opinion obviously, the answer is no. Actually in his situation that analogy does work. After the session I asked Mr. Wales the following question. If the community helped physically build the bowling alley (hammer, paint, and nails) or some pro bowlers showed up every Friday night and that helped increase the value of the sale then do they then deserve anything?

Again agreed to disagree!

Topics: oscon, vcfightclub | No Comments »