The Business of Open Source

Ben Haynes, the Founder and CEO of Directus, created an open-source project while working at his own agency in 2004. In this episode, we explore how he went from maintaining an open-source project to building an open-source company with a solid product-led growth strategy, and how he’s achieved success in the enterprise segment even as a small organization. Ben expands on how he feels open-source is the best way to start a business, and also reveals why timing and transparency can be both your greatest assets and the areas where you have the most regrets if not done right. We also discuss the value of optimizing you product and business for working with government agencies as an open-source company. 

  • Intro (00:00)
  • I introduce Ben Haynes, who is the CEO and Founder of Directus (00:59)
  • How the Directus platform has evolved over time (02:33)
  • Ben tells the story of what happened after the initial release of the Directus project in 2004 (06:06)
  • The strategy Directus has used to land enterprise customers as a small company (10:20)
  • Ben and I discuss the importance of early-stage open-source companies optimizing to work with government agencies (13:59)
  • Ben describes the SaaS business model that he chose for Directus (16:38)
  • Why Ben feels that open-source is the best strategy for starting a company (25:19)
  • How Ben landed on a product-led growth strategy for Directus (27:39)
  • What Ben learned about mistakes he made in timing his product and company (31:23)
  • The advice Ben would give to another open-source founder (33:52)
  • How listeners can learn more about Directus and connect with Ben (39:32)


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.