Tim O’reilly, Open Source and Idealism

This video featuring Tim O’reilly is part of a really interesting set of talks and conversations that is published by the Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner. A link to the whole talk is available here.

A big theme throughout the talk is that O’reilly Media was successful because it was a platform for others. They were basically the biggest hype man for the open source movement. Growing up, our computer room had probably a dozen O’reilly books on linux, mysql, perl and other topics.

This clip I shared really stood out because idealism seems to make a lot of people nervous in way that I have never understood. It can inspire some, but can cause ridicule from others. Technology has dramatically changed the balance of power between big and small businesses. And many of the most successful companies out there are empowering normal people (think Google, Amazon and to some extent Apple with iTunes). I’m really enjoying my ability to help further the same mission Mr. O’reilly describes: create/help build a platform (see goMarketNC and my new friends at the Open Food Web Foundation), promote other people and give them the tools they need to be successful.

To close, here’s a core idea from Mr. O’reilly’s talk: if you’re assured of victory, then who’s going to be inspired when you win? And if you’re too afraid of the giant to stand up and fight it, then you’ve already lost!

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