Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Protection and a Statement -- Za in NZ Reason #3

The NZ ZaReason is, in part, a statement. It's a statement that answers this question with a resounding boom:

“Why NZ? Why not go to a country where you can make a bigger profit?”

“Because it's not about profit.”


If the person doesn't get it at that point, it's a "tell" (a sign of a deeper, truer belief). They are the type of person who might sell out FLOSS without much of a fight.

NZ provides ZaReason with protection. ZaReason is primed for an investor. We have the infrastructure in place, all the contacts with OEMs, even our own runs of OEM level builds. It's time to grow.

But the typical investor will look at our move to set up the 2nd shop in NZ and think we have no business sense and therefore not invest = a dodged bullet. (See delightful anecdote below for insights into this profit motive.) 

The investor has to be able to understand that it's not about the numbers. Yes, NZ has 4.4million population, which is not that big. So what? Did Linus ask how many people would support his work before he tossed it out into the void? Any investor needs to be FLOSS-savvy. They need to understand the process, the essence of why we do what we do. They need to understand that it doesn't take an army of devs. It just takes a few brilliant people who are generous with their time. 

NZ weeds out the profit-only investors.


From an email I wrote to a friend, a well-loved kernel hacker, after a large conference:

"I was really surprised at the interactions I had at the conference. I didn't know how to handle their profit motive. It was capped off perfectly at the end of the event when I was in the elevator with some guy:

Guy: "Well, it's all about the bottomline."

Cathy: "Actually we have a few other things we're focusing on first, like the code, the people, the computers, that sort of thing."
Guy: "Well, as long as you make a profit."
Cathy: "Sure, of course, we have to to stay in business but the best way to do that is to put the people and their computers first."
Guy: "Sure, sure, and at the end of the day you look at the profit."

Cathy: "No, at the end of the day I look at my husband."

Guy: Stunned look, but fortunately the elevator was opening on my floor.

There were a half dozen conversations that were directed only at the profit motive. I have seen the Money God before, but in the context of FLOSS, the contribution of volunteers, the profit motive was just gross. 

It's good for me to know how to interface w/ this segment, but wow, it's not what I'm used to and it's not where I'd like to build my future. For now I'm just happy to be building cool gear. 


NZ is our protection, our insect repellent against guys like the one I met in the elevator. 

Please sound out if you have an opinion that might help ZaReason as we grow. 

(Also, please follow us @zareasonNZ if you're on Twitter.)

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