Today I participated in the inaugural Open Core Summit.
When I first heard about this event from the organizers, what I heard was that they were trying to put together a small boutique event. Clearly, they had struck a gold mine of untapped demand, because next thing I’ve heard is that the event is two days and the attendees are approaching 1000. Hats off to them.
Because of the family emergency of a sort, I was only there for several hours and therefore I missed most of the talks. Of the ones that I saw, the quality was all over the map — some were really just thinly vailed company pitches, and some “fire side chat” sessions were lame. Acoustic of the room was not great, and noise from the hallway track was overwhelming.
But despite all those noticeable shortcomings, I really liked the overall event. Perhaps because this was an inaugural event, speakers and audiences were quite diverse. It was as if nobody knew who else will be there. I’ve seen VCs, CEOs of open-source companies, well-known engineers in the open-source communities, entrepreneurs, vendors, open-source foundation people, and more. As a result, from speakers I’ve heard a lot of perspectives that are new to me, even if I might disagree with them. In contrast, more established conferences tend to self select people, which results in an echo chamber. Once again, diversity wins! It also helped that every talk was 20 mins, as you get to hear even more perspectives.
I later learned that this event apparently created a little Twitter storm. Clearly some “open source” people have developed aversion and distastes for what they thought this event is supposed to represent. I could be missing some important nuances, but I found this somewhat bizarre. As far as I’m concerned, a part of what made “open source” so much more impactful than “free software” is that it created a bigger umbrella that brought more people underneath. But here, the nay sayers seem to be making the same mistakes that fanatic free software advocates have made. I fundamentally believe that open source is a better development model, so more people who can invest in it the better, and clearly commercial open source companies have invested a lot.
I just wish the organizers had a guts to invite those people to the event and let them share their perspectives. I would have loved to hear them. I think that would have added even more diversity to an already diverse event, and in doing so it would have really highlighted what makes open source shine.