“If I hear something where I want to put a gun in my mouth, it’s that boring, I smell money. You wanna open a restaurant? You wanna open a fashion brand? You wanna start a jewelry line? You wanna produce movies? You better have a steady income, because you’re not going to make a lot of money and you’re going to work your ass off.
Why? Because everyone wants to be in those industries.
They’re over-invested. Careers are like asset classes. When everybody wants real estate, they get inflated, and the return goes down. The industries everybody wants to be in have the lowest return on your efforts because everybody wants to be in them. Which means you have to be amazing just to make a good living.”
Is working in OSS sexy or so boring it’s worthy of putting a gun in your mouth?
I live in Melbourne, Australia and despite knowing hundreds of people in the OSS industry here (and even more around the world), it still amazes me how many Melburnians who work in OSS that I haven’t met yet (according to LinkedIn at least). I’m not sure if that’s an indicator that the industry is over-invested.
Due to some very large OSS projects here at the moment, there has been a heavy influx of international experts coming into Melbourne. However, I suspect we’ll be reaching peak investment within the next year or two.
At that point is the industry over-invested? Or do the mega-projects just move elsewhere? The seismic shift in network management and related technologies has barely started globally, so perhaps it’s an industry that is still not saturated because it keeps changing?
The big risk for the industry is if a disruptive technology comes along and automates / streamlines away a large number of roles. Then we’re at risk of being over-invested, especially if we’re skilled at roles that are repeatable and therefore more easily replaceable.
So the question to you as an OSS expert (and me for that matter), when the number of OSS opportunities rapidly decline and there are not enough musical chairs to go around, what’s your exit strategy? What ARE the potential exits? Or are you counting on being one of the amazing few that will just be able to make a good living? What are your strategic differentiators?
For me, it’s all about establishing capabilities and networks in adjacencies, as alluded to in an earlier post about the relevance of sociograms and structural holes. The adjacencies strengthen your ability to connect, but also provide a pathway to transform yourself towards “the next big thing.”