Do I actually generate value?

Are you an expert at something that actually generates value?
Seth Godin
in a recent post called, “No direction home.

Seth’s post is actually about finding a job in a different way than most people try, one that I’m also a big advocate of.

The quote above though is a very philosophical one for all of us in the OSS industry to ponder. Do our OSS, and our activities that support them, actually generate value?

Many OSS are designed to reduce costs, so the question arises as to whether this is generating value? Much of the contribution that OSS make are intangible, so can we quantify whether we generate value? As their name implies, OSS are support tools, so do they only exist to facilitate the generation of value?

There are some aspects of OSS that do generate value. There are others that destroy value by simply costing a lot without contributing much.

So let me ask the question again. Are you an expert at something that actually generates value?

It’s the precise reason I’m constantly looking beyond what OSS currently represents and what we could (should?) be seeking. It’s why the cost-out mindset that prevails in our industry needs to be reconsidered in light of whether it can generate value.

I believe their strongest ability to generate value lie in their ability to:

  1. Store information, but more importantly, derive insights for the entire organisation, not just operations groups
  2. Operationalise other technologies / services that add tangible value
  3. Generate revenues, not just be a cost centre
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