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Whether you're a founder of an open source startup, an open source maintainer or just an open source enthusiast, join host Emily Omier as she talks to the people who work at the intersection of open source and business, from startup founders to leaders of open source giants and all the people who help open source startups grow.
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This is the Open Source Founders Summit Podcast, and the goals of the podcast and the event are the same: To share concrete, actionable takeaways about building financially successful open source companies. In the run-up to the event, I'm talking with both speakers and attendees about what they've learned about building open source companies.
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The Craft Of Open Source

Ben Rometsch, CEO, Flagsmith

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Welcome to The Craft of Open Source, hosted by Ben Rometsch, Co-Founder and CEO of Flagsmith. This bi-weekly show is focused on the ins and outs of the Open Source Software Community. Join Ben as he speaks with the brightest minds that have brought us some of the most adopted technologies on earth. Each episode is an interview with creators, maintainers, entrepreneurs, and key contributors to the open source community. We will cover critical topics for open source developers, contributors an ...
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with Karthik Ranganathan, founder and co-CEO of Yugabyte. This is the second time Karthik has been on the podcast, but since three years had passed I thought it’d be a good idea to catch up and see what’s changed at Yugabyte and how his perspective on the open source commercial ecosystem has changed…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with André Eriksson, founder and CEO at Encore. We talked about how open source develops trust, something I also discussed in the episode I recorded with Reshma Khilnani. For Encore, it’s subtly different, though. In the case of Medplum, open source is a differentiator in a market that’s used to bla…
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Success is not just about focusing on the grind. It is also about applying yourself every single day and letting your efforts compound over time. In this episode, open source consultant Eddie Jaoude shares how he applied this mindset in his own career path. Joining Ben Rometsch, he explains how he successfully built a strong online following throug…
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This week on The Business of Open Source I spoke with Saurav Pathak, chief product officier at Bagisto, about a very different kind of business relationship with open source — and open source software incubated in a larger company. There were tons of interesting nuggets in this episode, but some things I wanted to call out are: For open source proj…
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In this episode of The Craft of Open Source, Ari Zilka describes his transition from his previous projects to founding a new company that aims to improve control over observability data in IT. He identifies issues with current observability tools, such as high costs and lack of flexibility, and propose using OpenTelemetry to offer a more customizab…
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This week on The Business of Open Source I spoke with Tanmai Gopal, co-founder of Hasura. We talked about how Hasura grew out of Tanmai’s previous company, which was a consulting company. I like to call out examples of really novel open source businesses, but in fact the thing that stuck with me from the conversation with Tanmai was that Hasura is …
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This week on The Business of Open Source I spoke with Reshma Khilnani, CEO and founder of Medplum. Medplum is an open source electronic health record development platform, and one of the things I loved about this conversation is that Reshma is so focused on the healthcare industry — a level of focus that I find relatively rare in open source compan…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with Adam Jacob, founder and CEO of System Initiative and formerly the CTO and co-founder at Chef. We had a wide-ranging conversation that at times veered into the philosophical (what is the meaning for ‘strategy’?) but also has plenty of concrete, practical insights. We talked about: The difference…
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Ben Rometsch sits down with Birk Jernström, who shares the genesis story of Polar, a creator platform for developers. He explains how he established his company using his experiences and expertise gained from Tictail and Shopify. Birk discusses how he changes the status quo for open-source developers in terms of working on their passions full-time …
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I had a very different sort of guest — Mark Boost, the CEO and founder of Civo. We talked not only about Mark’s history as an entrepreneur, but also Civo’s recent acquisition of KubeFirst. This topic caught my eye because it’s not often I get an offer to talk with an acquirer of open source companies, and I…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with Brian Fox, co-founder and CTO of Sonatype. In addition to having a really interesting discussion about the usual topic of how to build a business around open source software, we also had a good conversation about security — it was hard to avoid, because we recorded this right after the xz backd…
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This week on The Business of Open Source I had Rod Johnson, founder/CEO of Spring Source and creator of the Spring Framework (as well as board member of many other open source companies) on to talk about Spring, monetizing open source and what’s changed in the open source ecosystem since 2008. Key takeaways: Consulting was burning the entire team o…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with BoxyHQ co-founder and CEO Deepak Prabhakara. We talked about a number of things, from BoxyHQ’s relationship with its open source project, called SAML Jackson to how to build a growth flywheel and how that flywheel does and does not depend on a community. Is BoxyHQ a security company? Does it ma…
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In the second episode that I recorded on-site at KubeCon EU in Paris, I spoke with Alex Olivier, CPO and co-founder of Cerbos. This was not a general discussion: It was focused on the process that Cerbos went through to figure out pricing. Here’s what we talked about: The first step of figuring out your pricing is not the number, but rather what yo…
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These past few years, open-source has been on the fast track to dominating the software market. It might sound contradictory to many people, but open-source is big business. A project’s source code may be free, but the products generated from that source code can certainly be commercialized. If you’re a project developer, therein lies the potential…
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This week, I had a dilemma: should I prioritize the episode where I spoke with one of the MariaDB co-founders, in which we discuss setting up a foundation as a way to ensure that the project continues to be open source in the future, no matter what (relevant given the Redis announcement); or should I prioritize the conversation with one of the foun…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I have an episode recorded on site at KubeCon EU in Paris with William Morgan, CEO of Buoyant. We had a fabulous conversation, which touched on some touchy subjects, including Buoyant’s slightly changing relationship with Linkerd. But we talked about: Being an open source mercenary, but also being dedicated…
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This week on The Business of Open Source I talked to Heather Meeker, General Partner of OSS Capital and author of From Project to Profit, How to Build a Business around your Open Source Project. We talked about some things that I entirely agree with, and then there were some points I challenged Heather on — all in all, it was fabulous conversation.…
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This week on The Business of Open Source I spoke with Pranay Prateek, co-founder of SigNoz. Pranay talked about why open source is important to SigNoz's business, why it's super important to deliver value quickly, even for an observability product, and why founders shouldn't think of open source just as a distribution model. We also covered: How Si…
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In this special episode to promote Open Source Founders Summit, I went deep with Thomas di Giacomo about how open source companies can position themselves as attractive acquisition targets for strategic buyers. If you are the founder of an open source company and you have the idea of being acquired even in the back of your mind, this is a must-list…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with Zach Wasserman, co-founder and CTO of Fleet. This was a fabulous episode for many reasons, but then again I never do crappy episodes, right? The first thing I wanted to call your attention to is that Zach talked about how he’s building an open core business because building an open source busin…
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Slightly different The Business of Open Source episode today! I spoke with Patrick McFadin and Mick Semb Wever about the relationship between Apache Cassandra and DataStax — how it was at the beginning and how the relationship has evolved over the years. We talked about: — How there was a dynamic around Cassandra where many of the many of the contr…
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In this episode of the Open Source Founders Podcast, I talked with Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud. Frank is going to be talking specifically about lead generation at Open Source Founders Summit, but in this episode we took a slightly wider view and talked about go to market, for open source companies in general and specifically for…
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This week on The Business of Open Source, I spoke with Percona CEO Ann Schlemmer. This episode was recorded on site at State of Open Con in London, outside in a van! There’s a ton of great info in this episode, too. First of all, Ann talked about being a ‘suit’ in a geek’s world and her career trajectory that led her to lead Percona. She also set t…
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Join us in this episode, where we take a deep dive into the story of Pulumi with its CEO and Founder, Joe Duffy. From its inception in 2016 with the ambitious goal of simplifying cloud infrastructure management through the creation of a new programming language, Joe takes us on a journey into the team’s evolution that helped Pulumi become what it i…
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In this episode of The Business of Open Source, I talked with four-time entrepreneur Mike Schwartz, CEO and founder of Gluu as well as the host of Open Source Underdogs podcast, about his long career in entrepreneurship. Here’s some particularly interesting things to take out of this episode: “Beware an entrepreneur’s second company.” — Mike says h…
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As part of the preparation for Open Source Founders Summit, I’m interviewing both our speakers and our attendees for a special podcast that’s hyper focused on one thing. In this episode I spoke with Peter Zaitsev, founder of Percona, about sales. We talked about the specifics of sales as a bootstrapped company — which means sales are exceptionally …
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Garima Kapoor, COO and co-founder of MinIO, joins me to share her journey from investor and advisor to co-founder of MinIO and the wealth of knowledge she’s amassed along the way. In this episode, Garima explains how her experience in finance and belief in the power of open source helped MinIO to break into the data storage market. She also reviews…
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Today I’m joined by Federico Wengi, who is a Partner at SquareOne VC. In this conversation, Federico sheds light on the conversations he’s had with many companies who consider making the pivot from a closed-source business strategy to an open-source strategy. Federico explains why it’s so uncommon for businesses to make that pivot, and lays out the…
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How can we get founders of open source companies together to share ideas, share strategies and tactics and build a community not just of open source practitioners, but of open source business owners? We create a conference/summit/retreat to bring them together to learn and to work on their businesses together. At least that is the bet that Remy Ber…
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Ben Haynes, the Founder and CEO of Directus, created an open-source project while working at his own agency in 2004. In this episode, we explore how he went from maintaining an open-source project to building an open-source company with a solid product-led growth strategy, and how he’s achieved success in the enterprise segment even as a small orga…
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Thank you for joining me for this first episode of Open Source Founders Podcast! In preparation for Open Source Founders Summit, I’m interviewing speakers and attendees about the lessons they’ve learned from building open source companies. In this first episode, I spoke with Pierre Burgy, co-founder and CEO of Strapi. We went deep on business model…
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Peer Richelsen is the Co-founder of Cal.com, an open-source calendar scheduling tool. This week, Peer and I discuss his personal experience with needing a customizable scheduling tool, the big leap from taking donations to running a profitable business, and the thought process behind seeking VC funding. Peer also talks about the major advantage of …
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Birthe Lindenthal is the Co-founder and CMO of OpenProject, a web-based project management system. On this episode, Birthe and I discuss the inception of the company, how being open source directly benefits both the business and its customers, and why the connection to their community is so strong. Plus, Birthe talks about the motivation she feels …
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Jenkins, an open-source stalwart and a foundational project of the Continuous Delivery Foundation, underwent a transformative journey towards independence within the foundation. In this conversation with Oleg Nenashev, Governance Board/Core Maintainer, we navigate through the significance of feature flags in continuous integration and delivery, cul…
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Didier Lopes, Co-founder and CEO of OpenBB, joins me to share the story of how OpenBB went from receiving 4000 GitHub stars in the first 24 hours of the project to a fully funded company launching new monetization initiatives. Didier and I chat about his background, what led him to start OpenBB in his spare time, and his vision for the company's fu…
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Loris Degioanni is the CEO and Founder of Sysdig, an open-source company working to make cloud deployment more secure through the use of runtime insights. Loris and I sit down to discuss the bet Sysdig is making to position itself as a leader in cloud security, how Loris leverages the power of a useful tool to create a brand, and the framework he u…
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Bob van Luijt is the CEO and Founder of Weaviate, an open-source vector database company that helps contribute to the advancement of AI technology. Throughout this episode, Bob and I discuss the complexities of moving from an open-source project to building an open-source company, and the challenges that come with monetization strategies. Bob share…
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With the digital world evolving nonstop, keeping your data secure must be one of your top priorities at all times. Shauli Rozen of ARMO explains how they help end-users and developers address their Kubernetes security needs through Kubescape. In this episode, he explains how their software applies security remediation without breaking the applicati…
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Ben Rometsch is the CEO and Founder of Flagsmith, an open-source feature flagging platform. In this conversation, we explore how he landed on the idea to develop an open-source feature flagging project and how that has snowballed into running a full-time SaaS company. Ben describes the challenges of creating a SaaS company from the ground up, espec…
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Max Howell is the CEO of Tea, a revolutionary open-source project that is seeking to help open-source contributors get paid for their work through crypto. Throughout our conversation, Max explains how he’s created some prolific open-source projects but was still unable to monetize them to the point where open source could be his full-time job, and …
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Nicolas Höning is the Co-Founder and CEO of Seita, an open-source energy optimization and digitalization company. Nicolas took an unconventional path to founding an open-source startup, and throughout this episode he describes how creating a greener world through open-source software is more than a business endeavor for him - it’s a personal missi…
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OpenBB stands at the crossroads of innovation, uniting open-source spirit with financial prowess to empower every individual. In this episode of our podcast, Didier Lopes discusses OpenBB, a revolutionary platform aiming to democratize access to financial data. From its inception to its evolution into a versatile financial data hub, Didier shows ho…
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Jono Bacon’s passion for building communities has been a driving force in a career taken him from Canonical to GitHub to founding the Community Leadership Core community accelerator. In this episode, Jono shares his definition of community, how a community can create a movement and the differences between the two. We also get a bit of insight into …
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Michael Cheng is an M&A Specialist who has had an extensive career that includes a former stint at Facebook as a Product Manager and his current role as a Lawyer. In this episode, Michael returns to the show to have an in-depth discussion around acquisitions. Michael shares his thoughts on why most acquisitions leave everyone involved feeling unsat…
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Positioning for open source startups is directly connected not just to their free resource but also their commercial strategy. How should business leaders approach this to yield the best results and maintain a well-performing team? In this episode, Positioning Strategy Consultant for open source startups Emily Omier talks about keeping teams in ali…
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Lars Kamp is the Co-Founder and CEO of Some Engineering, the makers of Resoto. In this episode, Lars describes what he’s learned from founding and working at multiple start-ups, as well as the main differentiators he’s experienced founding his first open-source startup. Lars describes his though process when it comes to selecting co-founders, and i…
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Amanda “Robby” Robson is a Partner at Cowboy Ventures and the co-host of the Open Source Startup Podcast. In this episode, Robby shares insights on what she’s looking for in open-source founders to potentially invest in, including the importance of being able to manage both your community and your paid model simultaneously. Robby and I also discuss…
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Data is the name of the game in today’s world. But with the amount of data sources today, how do you sift through and get the data you want? A data pipeline is the answer, and within that pipeline is a data orchestrator. Today’s guest, Pete Hunt, is the CEO of Elementl, the company behind the open-source orchestration platform, Dagster. He joins Be…
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Daniel Izquierdo is the Co-Founder and CEO at Bitergia, an open-source company that provides software development data and analytics. In this episode, we connect at the Open Source Summit in Bilbao to discuss how he went from working in academia to co-founding an open-source company. Throughout our conversation, Daniel shares interesting anecdotes …
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