Open Source Beer and more

It seems this summer the whole world is moving towards Open Source: from the Our Beer gang to Microsoft providing a tool to easily embed CC licenses in Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, opening Codeplex and giving in to OpenDocument, to the whole Web 2.0 use our API’s movement. What’s going on here? More importantly, what opportunities might there be for micro-ISVs?

If you missed that first reference, a group of students at IT-University in Copenhagen have created Our Beer, the world’s first beer brand with a Creative Commons recipe. Geeks being a thirsty lot, this Open Source beer has generated a nice buzz above and beyond the alcohol. And a lot of intriguing ideas: will open source shake up the tangible world as it has the intangible world of software and micro-ISVs? Is Open Source the antidote to brain-dead call centers, crappy products that fall apart in a couple years and advertising on every flat surface your eyeballs happen to rest on? Maybe.

I think there’s several micro-ISV opportunities on the Open Source World horizon as the world of consumers and producers is joined by prosumers:

  • Software/Services to manage, track and journal non-computing Open Source communities. Put another way, Sourceforge.net for total non-programmers. Today Our Beer, tomorrow the world?
  • Software/Services for developers to track how/when and in what they use Open Source code. For example, an subscription-based RSS re-aggregation site with reviewed changes in what’s out there.
  • Back in the Twentieth Century, time management was all the rage. As everything became more complex, people (like me) started focusing on task management. I think there’s a few dozen products/services yet to be written for people who need to manage their involvement with dozens of online communities, including the ones that arise from Open Source.
    For example, who here could not use a screen that shows at a glance the status of who has responded to their posts on all the different forums you follow so that at a glance you could see what and where to spend time online? Multiply by support forums and cube it by blogs and you have a real information management problem on your hands – a real need for new products and services.

While you might not think much of any of these ideas, here’s a final takeaway for this post: as a micro-ISV, you need to find a problem to solve. What problems are emerging in our increasingly Open Sourced world? Mull that over your next Our Beer!

An Online-Activity Dashboard?

I happen to really like this idea. I find myself onto blogs spread all over the place constantly and tend not to subscribe to their feeds just to watch a single response to my message...

This might be a reasonable way to address that.