Open Source Enterprise

In response to my post Emergic Update, Krishnan writes:

I am regular reader of your column in Tech Samachar. I came across your blog after reading your column last Friday. While I find your ideas truly original and blog very interesting to read, I am afraid I can’t understand the rationale behind sharing details of your progress with Emergic with the world. Isn’t this information your company’s “Intellectual Property” ? Don’t you feel sharing it with the world might hurt you more than it helps you in the long run?

Good questions. Why am I putting out the ideas and the progress in public? Should this not be proprietary and confidential? Will this hurt us or help us? My take on this is:

– Ideas are plenty. What differentiates is the execution and the sequencing. The Emergic ideas, while being original in part, are also built upon various things that I am seeing others do. I believe that no one has put them together like we are trying to do. I have spent the better part of the past year thinking through these ideas. That is much harder to replicate. Theres a lot more to the thinking then what appears on the blog. The blog is like an iceberg: theres enough visible, but theres a lot underneath the surface also.

– For small companies like us, it is important to use our knowledge in the development of the mass market. We need to be able to attract like-minded people and form clusters of people and companies. To succeed, we need clout and influence disproportionate to our small size. The web and the blog is perhaps the most cost-effective way of doing so. By being open and transparent to what we are doing, I hope to attract partners and prospective customers over time.

– Updating our progress on Emergic is, to me, akin to putting up our software in the open-source. Yes, anyone else can also take the ideas and concepts and customize them in their own way. But, it also means getting more to build on a similar platform. It means harnessing the minds of many. This, according to me, is our only chance of success in the ambitious tasks that we have set ourselves to do. We need to become thought and action leaders. I am confident that we are on the right track with Emergic. I am willing to let the blog create a record a public record of our success or failure. Only time will tell whether this was the right decision or not.

– I like to think of what we are doing as open-source enterprise. I think in the coming years more and more entrepreneurs will want to write about what they are doing. It helps them build a network of virtual friends who may have gone through or are experiencing challenges similar to the ones they are. As an individual, there may only a few things that I can do. But as a collective, theres so much more that we can accomplish. Think of it as Emergence where the whole is much smarter than the sum of the parts.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.