Commercial Open Source is a Juggling act

Juggling, or more technically speaking toss juggling, is about throw objects into the air and catch them: easy to say, difficult to do. Gravity is very selective, despite anyone can learn to juggle, few people take time to discover what it really involves.

Michael Moschen, one of greatest living jugglers, was interviewed by Anna Muoio, a Fast Company‘s journalist who wrote an inspirational article entitled “Life is a Juggling act“. I grabbed some idea from the original article – that I would recommend if interested in the subject – to talk about Commercial Open Source and Juggling.

Juggling is mostly about breaking down patterns into simpler tasks. There are only two ingredients, tosses and catches. Even the most complex pattern can be broken apart into simpler steps. Once learn how simple are the individual atomic actions, you can recombine them, and eventually show your latest trick.

Juggler Life is a Juggling act by f.vp

In juggling there are three basic steps:

First, make a good throw. Are you rolling the ball off your fingers — as you should — or are you using your palm? Do you throw the ball so it always falls away from you — as it should — or does it fly over your shoulder because you don’t want to let go of it?

Throw the ball, open source your software. Whether you do it smoothly or not, you have to manage the fear to loose your business opportunities, your brand, or both. Throwing is the very first step, and you need to mind it carefully.

Second, trust your throw. Look straight forward. Don’t focus on the ball. Realize that once you let go, you have no more control.

Once you let it go choose if you want to keep coding on your own or not, assess the level of “promiscuity” that you want with your partners, ranging from “totalizing” to none, or “ecosystemic“. Whatever you choose, remember others can take advantage of it, and you might hardly find a way to prevent it. Gravity always wins.

Third, put your hands under the ball. Let the ball fall into them. If you reach up for it, you cut the amount of time you have to adjust to catching it.

After a good throw aim for a good catch, if you opted for a medium-long term strategy just wait for the business to come to you, think about Mozilla. You do know if it was a good or a bad throw.

Juggling is not about Magic: you get just what you do.

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