Looking to OSS’s flying cars

Earlier this week we discussed how Peter Thiel’s statement, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters,” and how it related to the world of OSS.

One of Peter’s ventures is the Founders Fund, a venture capital firm investing in smart people solving the world’s difficult problems. The Founders Fund Manifesto is an inspirational call-to-arms for anyone in the technology space, one that I’d highly recommend you take the time to read. [Hat-tip to its author, Bruce Gibney.]

I see OSS in the exact same light. As the manifesto articulates, “Along the way, VC has ceased to be the funder of the future, and instead has become a funder of features, widgets, irrelevances. In large part, it also ceased making money… the shift away from backing transformational technologies and toward more cynical, incrementalist investments broke venture capital.” The same paradigm can be seen to be leading OSS down a path towards what many see as impending irrelevance, prime for disruption.

But I see OSS as (potentially) being at the centre of the big bang of an increasingly digital world. Deloitte’s recently released “Tech Trends 2016,” highlights four trends that are accelerating the world’s digital transformation – Internet of Things, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Data Analytics and Blockchain. Throw in machine learning / intelligence and autonomic platforms and we have the basis for the OSS ecosystems of the future (albeit no longer just Operational support systems). We’ve mentioned them all here on PAOSS over the last few years so they’re not exactly way out on the bleeding edge.

The Founders Fund manifesto makes the following statement that has nothing to do with OSS, yet everything to do with OSS, “…many companies pursue the wrong model – they seek to be almost as good as the default product, rather than (as should be the case generally) so much better than the default that customers will rush to switch.”

Another snippet from the manifesto to leave you with, “Real technology companies tend to create durable returns, making timing much less important. If you invested in webvan.com, your window of opportunity was measured in months; if you backed Intel, your window of opportunity was measured in decades.”

Perhaps it’s time to pen a Passionate About OSS manifesto?? 😉

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