Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Alan Hudson <>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 09:14:37 -0700

Larry M. Augustin wrote:
> 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.
Guess it depends if you are an investor.  But if you goal is creating 
open source software while getting paid then...

> 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.
Why the focus on Venture capitalists?  Focus on running a business that 
is profitable on its own.  Expand as you can instead of a big burst and 
possible bust.

> 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
> software.
 From a global/technological economic point of view I bet these small 
businesses are vitally important.  I employ 5 folks in my niche software 
business(3D graphics) that generates a lot of open source(200K+ LOC last 

If successful FSB's are ones that contribute the most to open source 
development then I expect you'll find that the lions share is generated 
in so called lifestyle businesses.  Its pretty easy to get a 10 person 
company together of like minded folks.  To get 100 or 1000 moving in the 
same direction is another beast.

Alan Hudson
President: Yumetech, Inc.            
Web3D Open Source Chair