TECH TALK: My Mental Model: Open-Source Ideas

Much of my writing and thinking is influenced by another dimension: the feedback mechanism caused by business actions. What I am writing about here is exactly what I seek to implement in my entrepreneurial venture, Netcore Solutions. This thread connects the vision and ideas to the marketplace, putting in place a self-correcting mechanism. It is also why I believe that every entrepreneur should have a weblog. Let me explain.

The concept is what I call open-source company. A willingness to honestly and transparently share ones ideas in the open with a larger, interested set of people can help in creating non-linear external response and influence on the ideas and actions. By sharing ones ideas and actions in the public domain, entrepreneurs lend themselves to feedback which is otherwise a significant, missing component in their actions. It is what can cause people to be blind-sided. There are many smart people out in the world who have different perspectives. By willing to discuss openly ones ideas, the entrepreneur can engage the brains of the very best minds, thus reducing the risk inherent in the venture in very much the same way that the world of open-source software is considered to be more secure because there are so many eyes looking at the code and even if there are bugs, they are caught and fixed very rapidly.

What the weblog does for an entrepreneur is give the platform for sharing ideas and building a community a kind of brains trust around the ideas. In a marketplace where part of the battle is for mindshare, the weblog can provide a very powerful tool for entrepreneurs to get exposure to and feedback from people whom they would not normally have encountered in their regular lives. That is why I call it non-linear. There are so many people we interact with in our personal and professional lives these are normally friends of friends, or business associates. What the weblog does is create weak ties readers who spend a few minutes every so often thinking about what one has written. There is no other association or engagement the readers can as easily go away and stop, as they can be drawn into what the writer says. What the entrepreneur needs to do is leverage the strength of these weak ties they open up worlds across industries, across geographies in ways which are otherwise nearly impossible to do.

All of this has a strong influence of what the entrepreneur thinks and does. As we will see, a lot of our actions and ideas need to combine and build on the best business models and practices of others. Having people point out some of these to us compensates for the limited learning that we have had in our academic careers, where the focus has been more on vertical specialisation rather than broader perspectives.

What I have found is that some of the best ideas and refinements to ones core thinking comes from unintended interactions: meetings with near strangers, comments on an unrelated topic which sparks off a connection, reading something very different. Diversity is very important as one seeks to put in place these few key governing concepts and principles which make action easy and obvious. This happens over a period of time. And, even though it can never guarantee success, it surely can reduce the risk of failure by orders of magnitude.

Tomorrow: The Outline

TECH TALK My Mental Model+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.