What Business Can Learn from Open Source

Paul Graham gave this talk, What Business Can Learn from Open Source, at Oscon 2005. It is long, but worth the time. His points relate to the passions of the unruly and unpaid who create open source or innovative weblogs. It ties right into the point I was making in my previous post about the woman who sleeps with babies.

Here’s an excerpt of what he said, “So these, I think, are the three big lessons open source and blogging
have to teach business: (1) that people work harder on stuff they
like, (2) that the standard office environment is very unproductive,
and (3) that bottom-up often works better than top-down. . . . When I say business can
learn from open source, I don’t mean any specific business can. I
mean business can learn about new conditions the same way a gene
pool does. . . . I think the big obstacle preventing
us from seeing the future of business is the assumption that people
working for you have to be employees. But think about what’s going
on underneath: the company has some money, and they pay it to the
employee in the hope that he’ll make something worth more than they
paid him. Well, there are other ways to arrange that relationship. . . . “

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