The Why, How and Power of Commercial Open Source Software

I'm a full stack developer who has founded a TechCrunch Disrupt nominated startup and worked at one of Europe's top VC funds.
Founder of OSS Capital
I am the founder of multiple bootstrapped companies. They include web, mobile and infrastructure development agency Solid State Group, virtual office business The Hoxton Mix and, most recently, developer friendly feature flag tool Bullet Train. I've been involved with many more than that, watching some succeed and others fail.
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Joshua Summers
18:48, 13 May 20
Hi Joseph - it's great to be Taaalking with you
Before we get deep into the details of Commercial Open Source Software (or COSS), would you mind telling me a bit about who you are and what you're up to right now?
asynchio
17:49, 14 May 20
My name is Joseph Jacks and I'm the founder of a new kind of platform that focuses on helping FOSS creators learn about COSS (a type of company category) and how to participate in the COSS movement. We organize a conference, are launching an accelerator, have a fund that invests in early-stage COSS startups, and also produce a lot of media. Before starting all of these efforts a couple of years ago, I was a startup founder myself - mostly known in the Kubernetes ecosystem for starting the first company there (Kismatic) and also founding KubeCon, the Kubernetes ecosystem conference.
Joshua Summers
18:02, 14 May 20
FOSS = free OSS? If so, I it seems you are thinking all the way along the full developer journey - helping naturally generous developers build companies around their work. Is that right?
And what are the properties of COSS that make it such an exciting segment in your eyes?
asynchio
18:09, 14 May 20
Correct.
FOSS = Free/Open-Source Software (a type of technology project).
COSS = Commercial Open-Source Software (a type of technology company).
COSS is exciting because it provides a path and option for FOSS creators to capture some value around their FOSS creations. COSS companies like GitLab, HashiCorp, Confluent, Odoo, DEV and many others in recent years have achieved big success in employing many thousands of people, creating many thousands of full-time jobs for many people and more.
The reason I find COSS the most exciting area in technology is the following reason:
It is extremely misunderstood, knowledge is incredibly unevenly distributed and this represents an opportunity to share and educate more people so that the world better understands the fundamentals of COSS, which build on the fundamentals of FOSS.
Joshua Summers
18:23, 14 May 20
So the excitement for you comes from waking up FOSS developers to the possibility of COSS? Or when you are talking about education, do you mean widening the F/COSS userbase?
Are there any properties about the 'structure' of COSS that get you excited about it vs. a traditional SAAS business? For example, do you feel the future of all commercialised developer tools is inherently COSS, and that something to do with the OSS nature of it means it naturally dominates any category it's in? Or do you feel there is only a mild 'inherent power' to COSS?
asynchio
02:58, 23 May 20
I am definitely excited about waking up and educating FOSS creators about the COSS category and its potential for FOSS creators to start amazing COSS companies - mostly because I believe that forming a COSS company and commercializing your technology is the best way many FOSS creators can optimally capture value - a small slice of the value they create. Today, FOSS creators capture basically zero value they create. This is something I am particularly annoyed by. It’s the same feeling I have about Nicola Tesla dying poor and many other amazing inventors not participating in any of the value capture their glorious inventions enabled. 
COSS is not technology specific or vertical specific or tool specific or layer in the stack specific. It is an agnostic abstract category of company. It is a type of company. I believe that, eventually, over a long enough timeframe, Open-Source “Eats everything” and that COSS is the most equitable and efficient way to capture value created by FOSS. Today, the trillions of dollars of value created by FOSS has been INDIRECTLY captured by SaaS, internet companies, enterprises and proprietary stacks. Tomorrow, over decades from now, my hope is that trillions of dollars of value capture will shift to COSS enabling the creators of the fundamental tech (FOSS) to DIRECTLY capture some value created by their core positive sum technology... and we are slowly starting to see evidence of this gradual shift: HashiCorp, Databricks, Confluent, GitLab, DEV, Mattermost, many others. 
Joshua Summers
09:39, 23 May 20
I agree. We are starting to see that shift.
One thing you said I'd love to explore some more. What is it about Open-Source that means it "eats everything"? Why does it do that?
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