The Internet: An Open Source Community
Have you ever noticed how most things on the internet are free? Or how the demo versions are as good as the real versions? How there are people who write blogs about solving problems for things they could have charged people for, but they did it for free? This phenomenon is called Open Source.
Wikipedia defines open source as a term that describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials. It means that people show you exactly how they got their answer or made their products; there are no secrets everything is shown to you. Open source is a methodology that the internet community strives for. The Internet community want to be just that a community, not a business. In fact most things on the internet are not only open source, but free. The Internet community seems to be unlike any other business industry. It feels that that knowledge is the goal not money. Charging high prices only makes it so not everyone can have access to the information which stifles learning. I believe one of the reason the Internet has developed into this type of environment is because the leaders and trend setters honestly just love what they do and don’t care how much money they make. When I was watching the movie The Social Network I was struck by how little Mark Zuckerberg cared about money. For him it was all about the challenges and the excitement. Even now when the real Mark Zuckerberg is richer than he ever could have imaged, he still seems very apathetic with all the money. He is content wearing his flip-flops and hoodies. This was is stark to Mark’s partner Eduardo Saverin who was constantly want to monetize Facebook and look to make it profitable. This was a good comparison to the difference between Corporate America and Internet companies like Facebook.
Google verse General Electric
This leads us to the question which way is the better way to do business is. The old fashion way seems like it would be the best to make money, and always worrying about the bottom line. The old would say taht you can never giving anything away for free. This is where sayings like “nothing in life is free” came from. Now let’s look at the internet’s open source way. Things are given away free for the sake of making the better product. Google, for example, who has the best search engine on the market gives people almost all of their information they collect to their users to help them improve themselves. Google offers some of the best internet marketing tools and they are all free. Companies like SEOMoz and SEOBook, who are experts in their field, give away most of there information for free. The internet is where all the potential and growth in the economy seems to be. Google an internet company just passed GE an industrial company in having a higher market capitalization. It might be time for the other industries in the world to learn from the internet that sometimes the best way to make money and improve your company is give your stuff away. To care about the industry and your customers more then your bottom line.