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October 19, 2010
News - IP Obesity |
about a year ago
The antithesis to your point “idea->patent->profit->innovate” is that it is Apple’s strategy exactly. They create the tech. Lock it. Profit from it. Then Innovate again usually with the funds they just made. They have CREATED markets (or monopolies) out of thin air (GUI from Xerox,iPod,iPhone). An argument could have been made that minor underlying markets existed prior (commodores, Nokia Smartphones, low quality mp3 players), but they played the tech game right but unleashing products that worked, worked well, and worked reliably. Apple lives and dies buy it’s tech. If they stop innovating they will lose cash flow because their products (innovations) are fashionable and dispensable. They have to innovate every few years and release it, otherwise there is no reason to buy their product except as a replacement. The 100 Billion in cash proves their model is effective. This fact is compounded by them being the most profitable US company ever. Their model is closed source and their success warrants that this as an effective solution.
Personally, I work in the Energy industry (Houston) and we see little innovation because of bullet proof safety standards and capital risk models. When lives are on the line you do not want to test out a new microcontroller (PLC) or a hardware device (Blow Out Preventer). Companies make their dollars on that reputation alone. So many devices are the exact same in terms of hardware, but what we buy is the reputation that it will never fail, cause if it does, we are dead (literally). The hardware is in a sense “OPEN” because every customer has the source (drawings, BOMS, etc) to every piece of equipment. If a part fails on a drilling rig, I know exactly where to go to replace that part in a matter of minutes regardless if the vendor will comply.
I am/have been a supporter of OSHW and supported and attended (through my personal company) the first OSHW Conference back in the 2010. I wanted to meet you but was to nervous to introduce myself, and had to catch the train back to Albany. I think what you have created is not so much a model that supports OSHW, but rather your product is the knowledge and application itself (which is what OSHW literally is: knowledge). I use Sparkfun/OSHW everyday to not necessarily develop/sell OSHW products, or electronic devices, but I use OSHW to learn how to do the big things better.
In turn I believe that innovation, regardless of the source (open or closed), is what wins markets. Apple wins because they are innovators. Google wins because they are innovators. Sparkfun wins because they are innovators. Makerbot wins because they are innovators. The list could go on and on. If you adopt a profitable business model that spurns innovation within your organization you will be successful. Anything less and I believe the business will go belly up. The energy industry is seeing this with all the new horizontal drilling stuff. 20 years ago no one cared. Now every has to have the technology to survive.
News - June Caption Contest |
about 2 years ago
After defeating the metallic reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, AWESOM-O proceeded to bring the Super Bass back to Nicki Minage while celebrating a few “void highFives()” along the way.
News - Open Source ALL the Thing… |
about 2 years ago
I think you hit on precisely why Open Source sometimes isnt feasible. Right Now Today would you release all of your intellectual property (finances, code, documentation, vendor contacts, manuals, etc, just let us have read only access to your server) to the public? Probably not. We promise in the future we will open source, but why not right now?
I love open source. My company sponsored the OHWS last year. However, in regards to breaking into a market, developing a business, ultimately there is probably some intellectual property you want to maintain so you can compete. Sparkfun is a different company, but I believe this post shows that while OS is awesome, it also can never truly be sustainable at the root of what is “open”.
News - Free Day Bite-Sized Tutor… |
about 3 years ago
Paying people to learn. Nice!
News - Open Source Hardware |
about 3 years ago
Just wanted to add…
The reality is big buisness will always be there. But if you can create an effective brand that is essentially the “Red Bull” (think extreme sports) of engineering then your marketing and viral support will blow the walls off of your competition. People will buy from you because you are the coolest and the best. Sure your product may cost a bit more, but when they see you flying to the moon in custom neon pink rocket ship shaped like an xwing fighter; people will think that is the sickest thing ever and want to get on board. Be the coolest engineer not the most profitable. The kids remember the iPhone, not DOS.
“This competition keeps us on our toes, keeps us sharp, and keeps us innovating as fast as we humanly can."
This point is exactlly why OH is the greatest thing ever.
Closed source keeps you from having to innovate to still turn out a product. If i freely give the competition the means to compete with me, yet am still the best, what does that say about me? It says I am one ridiculous engineer, thats what.
Nate, I wanted to talk to you at the OHS (I attended) but was to shy and had to catch the 7 train back to Penn then to Albany right when the cocktail hour started. I am a Mechanical Engineer so I totally love the idea of Open Sourcing stuff like generators, wind turbines, off road vehicles and the like. I can just think about the cool stuff a garage nut could build in if I open sourced a Corvette Z06 or something of that nature.