The Business of Open Source

In this episode of the Open Source Founders Podcast, I talked with Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud. Frank is going to be talking specifically about lead generation at Open Source Founders Summit, but in this episode we took a slightly wider view and talked about go to market, for open source companies in general and specifically for Frank’s experience at Nextcloud. 

A couple other things to pull out as takeaways. 

First of all, Frank talks about how he originally planned to target big companies who wanted to keep their data private — but as it turned out, most big companies don’t really care deeply about keeping their data private. On the other hand, the public sector and universities really do care, and those have ended up being a huge part of Nextcloud’s customers. 

Frank also talked about the rather obvious differences in needs between home users and big organizations. Nextcloud has some customers with millions of users — their needs are different from a home user. And as far as home users go, Frank says these users are obviously never going to pay Nextcloud anything. On the other hand, they have built mechanisms into the software to nudge open source instances with over 1,000 users to get in touch to talk about a commercial relationship. 

He also talked specifically about the importance of really talking with your customers and your users — and incorporating their feedback into your product roadmap. For open source companies, you have so much more information and feedback than proprietary companies, and you should take advantage of that to inform your go to market strategy. 

We also talked about how the millions of home users who will never pay Nextcloud are still extremely valuable to the company — and why Frank think it’s really wrong to think of pure open source users as just leads to be converted. 

And much, much more. 

If you’re the founder or leader at an open source company, and you want to be a part of more discussions like this, join us at Open Source Founders Summit May 27th and 28th in Paris! 

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.