Subject: How can open source help someone become an entrepreneur?
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 06:35:12 -0700

Woah, an excellent question!  And even after you wrote it it I was  
surprised by your answer, because I didn't interpret it correctly.  I  
love it.

Entrepreneurs are cheap (or they generally don't last too long) and  
zero-cost, super-customisable software can save you real bucks, at  
least short term (when you have more time than money).  And when  
you're in such a situation, if you're smart and lucky, you can set up  
your infrastructure such that you reap economies of scale that pay  
off big time down the road.

That's fabulous for the yous and mes, but doesn't help most people.   
Even for me, nowadays I can't _afford_ to spend any time fiddling  
with software, or hardware for that matter.  It's cheaper for me to  
buy something and plug it in than it would be for me to fiddle with it.

I would buy some of that stuff below were someone to come in provide  
it to us.  But unfortunately I wouldn't pay a lot.

FS gives a different king of opp'y to the entrepreneur too (what I  
had first thought you meant with that question) in that you can build  
a highly-specific solution on top of an existing, significant base.   
Sounds like you're doing that too.  But I think that topic has  
already been extensively discussed, including in your last  

The idea that you can build on top of cheap PCs, LAMP and a few  
related technologies to rapidly and inexpensively get to market is  
one of the touchstones of the whole "Web 2.0" brouhaha/bubble/echo  
chamber/nonsense.  I think there _is_ an opportunity for one or two  
people to make a difference (== help people and make more than pocket  
change) by "putting that into a box"

On Jun 13, 2006, at 21:57 , Mark Marsalese wrote:

> Just two cents.
> DV Henkel-Wallace wrote:
>> How does an FS programmer morph into an entrepreneur, well, as you  
>> can see I don't think that's an FS question at all.  But perhaps  
>> this could be a sympathetic place for such a discussion if anyone  
>> actually spent time talking about _that_.
> Turning the question above on it's head might be more useful:
> How can open source help someone become an entrepreneur?
> As a budding entrepreneur, i've been finding many ways of  
> leveraging open source software to start making money and make my  
> life easier. Many entrepreneurs have more time than money. With  
> open source software and a few weeks work I have the following for  
> my infrastructure:
>    - Phone System w/ Automated attendant & 8 incoming lines &  
> conference calling - I've had people confuse me for a large company  
> with this
>    - Document management - keep files straight and easy to access  
> on the road (semi-paperless office)
>    - Email - communicate
>    - Website - advertising
>    - CRM - keeping customers straight
>    - Firewall - keep things secure and remote SSL VPN access (great  
> feature)
>    - Monitoring - know when things are down before the customer does
>    - Helpdesk - keeping problems straight (also integrates with  
> phone system and monitoring)
> Of course Open Source doesn't have all the answers. Sometimes  
> commercial offerings are best.
>    - Accounting - Quickbooks Pro (might move to OSAS)
>    - Desktop - WinXP
>    - Text to speech
> This is only for the office. I also take advantage of many of the  
> best open source packages for client solutions. I rarely use the  
> terms "open source" or even "software". Generally I keep saying  
> "solution".
> My only piece of advice for programmers trying to morph into  
> entrepreneurs is that "software is not always the solution". I had  
> this ephiphany while managing a dozen or so other developers. Why  
> code when you can purchase, why purchase when you can download, why  
> do any of that when adjusting the original situation eliminates the  
> need with the least effort.
> I've nearly always seen one of the benefits of open source software  
> as raising the floor for software quality. It best drives  
> innovation by pushing commercial software developers to innovate  
> more (or get better marketing). Sometimes it surpasses the  
> commercial offerings and stays there for a while.
> Ok, maybe four cents.
> Mark