The Business of Open Source

This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with André Eriksson, founder and CEO at Encore. We talked about how open source develops trust, something I also discussed in the episode I recorded with Reshma Khilnani. For Encore, it’s subtly different, though. In the case of Medplum, open source is a differentiator in a market that’s used to black boxes, for Encore, open source is tablestakes in a market that won’t adopt a completely proprietary software. 

We talked about: 

  • Launching with a cloud platform from day one — not the open source project. 
  • On the other hand, open source is also important because often users and customers have to modify things to get it exactly right; the flexibility is a critical part of the platform’s draw. 
  • The challenge getting contributions, which André doesn’t find surprising, especially because it’s a project/product that solves problems for companies, not hobby projects. 
  • Having one brand for the open source project and the product, which can make it hard to communicate the difference between them. 
  • Ensuring that the open source project and all of the features in it are useable without being dependent on the commercial product — which is not always easy. Finding the right balance between avoiding crippleware and still having enough of a difference in value between the open source and the commercial product to sell it is a core challenge. 
  • The biggest risks from open source, which André kicked off by talking about the difference between what you perceive as a big risk and what objectively is — this is a distinction that I think is super important to understand in life and business. Ultimately he settled on a big risk just being that you build something that isn’t valuable or differentiated enough for people to pay for. 
  • Communicating the value proposition clearly is their top challenge at the moment. 

Check out the full episode for some serious insights into what’s working and what’s a struggle at Encore. 

What is The Business of Open Source?

Whether you're a founder of an open source startup, an open source maintainer or just an open source enthusiast, join host Emily Omier as she talks to the people who work at the intersection of open source and business, from startup founders to leaders of open source giants and all the people who help open source startups grow.