Matt Aslett gave a great talk about the evolution of open source business strategies last week at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco. In it, he presented a model to allow one to visualize businesses that use open source in their solutions, and what it means in terms of relationships with customers and the community.
The community relationships are driven by the lower triangle:
The customer relationships are driven by the upper triangle:
Matt goes on to apply the model across a collection of companies and business models, visually demonstrating how different companies have made different choices and evolved those choices, as well as playing out a number of scenarios. It's an excellent model.
Matt and I have debated in the past as to whether or not there is such a thing as an open source business model. I've argued there's no such business model, but discuss it as a set of tools that are applied to the business. Regardless of one's opinions however, Matt has provided an excellent visual model for the discussion and presentation of the ideas. It works in much the same way as the Business Model Design template in visually capturing the information to ensure a completeness of discussion and an understanding of how the parts relate. I'm looking forward to the continuing evolution of the model over the coming year as he prepares the next major open source business report from the 451 Group, and would encourage you to give the entire presentation a read.