Subject: RE: Successful FSBs
From: "Larry M. Augustin" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 07:36:34 -0700

I think that the concept of a "lifestyle business" is very important
here.  All too often I see businesses where the principals are making a
very good living for themselves, but they would not be able to grow that
business to make a good living for 10 times as many people.  Also,
lifestyle businesses are generally a bad investment; there's usually no
way for an investor to make a return.

There's nothing wrong with that kind of business.  Many people make a
good living with a lifestyle business.  But when discussing FSBs, we
need to be clear which we are talking about.  Venture Capitalists are
not going to fund a lifestyle business.  A lifestyle business is likely
to employ 10s, not 100s or 1000s of people.

I'd like to see the discussion focus on non-lifestyle FSBs because I
think those are harder to build but ultimately more interesting because
they can employ a significantly larger number of people creating free


Larry M. Augustin,
Tel: +1.650.966.1759, Fax: +1.650.966.1753

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adam Turoff []
> Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 6:10 AM
> To: Brian Behlendorf
> Cc: Simon Cozens;
> Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
> On Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 07:47:36PM -0700, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> > So, anyone care to define 'FSB'?
> Not yet.
> Can we agree on businesses that are/aren't (or were/weren't) FSBs?
> My short list of FSBs (incomplete):
> 	Aladdin
> 	Covalent      (What's your take on this Brian?)
> 	Easy Software (the CUPS people)
> 	Great Bridge  (RIP)
> 	MySQL
> 	RedHat
> 	Scriptics     (RIP)
> 	Sleepycat
> 	Sourcefire    (snort)
> 	SuSE
> 	Ximian
> 	Zope Corp
> All of these business work on true open source products (i.e., not
> something that's just free for non-commercial use like TrollTech).
> Many of them release software under the GPL, and make money off of
> secondary services (consulting, support, maintenance contracts),
> through relicensing under proprietary licenses.
> I think Russ mentioned the term "lifestyle business" a few weeks
> ago.  Two or three on this list might qualify as lifestyle businesses;
> I'm not sure what that means for the overall health/idea of an FSB...
> Z.