“Your financial planner, real estate agent, and accountant all call your house an asset. But in reality, an asset is only something that puts money in your pocket. If you have a house that you rent out to tenants, then it’s an asset. If you have a house, paid for or not, that you live in, then it can’t be an asset. Instead of putting money in your pocket, it takes money out of your pocket. That is the simple definition of a liability.”
One of the most intoxicating aspects about working in the OSS industry is that there are so many problems for us to solve (and we all just happen to be experts at solving problems right)?
Quick fixes, workarounds, patches; they all deliver a great sense of personal achievement. The problem with solving these types of problems is that they are short-term or one-time-only fixes. They’re not building assets, the things that will repeatedly put money in your (organisation’s) pocket.
Just like Robert’s definition above about your residence not being an asset, there is a subtle but significant difference between solving problems and creating solutions.
lt requires a mindset shift for many of us in OSS to concentrate more on building assets (creating solutions) rather than just solving problems.
Developing a product / solution can be like building a valuable asset up from nothing but if it consumes more money than it makes then, by definition, it is a liability.
The key word is “repeatability.” How do you turn what you’re doing, be it product, service or information, into something that more than one customer will want to pay for? We have the responsibility to work on developing the systems to reduce problems and allow us and our customers to be more productive. After all, OSS are insight and efficiency engines so we need to determine ways that they can be more productive. That’s definitely not just through adding more functions
Looking back over your previous week at work, were you creating assets or just solving problems?