The Open Adoption Software Playbook

I’m really digging this presentation via Accel on The Rise of Open Adoption Software and the contents therein. I’ve embedded the slide deck below for your own perusal:

II particularly like how they captured a definition of “OAS” as software that:

  1. Is openly built by a network of developers, end users, and ecosystem partners…
  2. Is openly and freely adopted by frontline developers who can become potential customers…
  3. Is embracing of proprietary, value-added bits to help users get the most out of their software…
  4. Is now the foundation of how enterprises think about IT.

This relates really well to the things that I’ve been exploring over the past few months and how developers are the new kingmakers and how powerful the network can truly be.

The problem (and exciting opportunity) is that the Developer Graph is real – it just doesn’t have much of a formal infrastructure quite yet that sits underneath it. Take, for instance, this great image:

Great software and tooling...

Great software and tooling…

As you can see there are a ton of these Open Adoption Software that are now becoming (or have become) household names. And they have fundamentally changed the way that we build products and understand computing as a whole.

But, there isn’t a social layer that necessarily ties them all together. Strangely, this exists in other categories and obviously at the meta-levels (e.g. Facebook) but not for the developer class. I think it’s about time that we explored what that might actually look like.

This next slide is also encouraging:

The Old and New models.

The Old and New models.

Historically, OAS companies were constructed as such:

  1. Start company
  2. Identify customer pain points
  3. Build products
  4. Iterated towards product-market fit
  5. Scale to-to-market
  6. Drive customer success
  7. Retention / Expansion

Now, there is a new timeline that has changed things up a bit:

  1. Create an open project to solve critical technology pain
  2. Build a community of like-minded developers
  3. Determine customer interest in similar pain points / TAM
  4. Start company
  5. Build value-added products
  6. Harvest early community adoption
  7. Retain and expand

Even in the last few months I feel as if I’ve moved from the more traditional approach into the newish OAS timeline. I’ve blogged and shared my intent and the process and started doing customer studies, interviews, and more with the hope of iterating towards some “fit” of some kind.

But now, with a small community put together (through the likes of a simple newsletter) and now focusing more of my time on connecting with those “like-minded” folk that are also deeply passionate about building better software. You see, the mission is still very much the same yet the approach is the thing that is also being iterated on.

This slide here encapsulates this move quite nicely:

The phases.

The phases.

Now it’s all about putting together the community, one that is truly high-energy and organic. The rest will take care of itself, especially if the first part lands really strongly.

I think we can all learn something from what Accel has put together here and apply it liberally to our own work and project(s). Maybe this project will eventually become a “company,” which necessarily requires a great team, strong execution, and a large market. I’ll be sharing more news about these things shortly, so stay tuned.