Europe and US: the impedence mismatch

Another great Think Tank has come and gone, and needless to say $DAYJOB kept me from writing a report. Luckily enough Larry Augustin beat me to it and came up with a post that’s nothing short of wonderful, the quintessence of it being how Europe and the US are barely speaking the same language when it comes to Open Source. My somewhat oversimplification to Larry’s synopsis:

  • Europe tends to consider dual licensing as “fake Open Source”. That quote alone, coming from a prominent guy from the French Public IT sector, made my day.
  • The sales model in Europe is heavily driven by VARs and SIs. Yours truly is not surprised, as that’s the very reason for giving birth to Sourcesense, but it was good to see our business model validated and blessed throughout the event.

Fabrizio, a true European despite his brand new US passport, adds some interesting comments, noting how you need to be in the US if you want to create a successful software company, so much that a number of Europeans actually crossed the Ocean and went to the valley. Can’t argue with that, but at least now we know the reasons why, and it’s probably a good time to ask ourselves if software companies are the way to go anyways. It has been pointed out at the event how the VC model helps building product-oriented businesses in the US, yet what I’m questioning with my European hat on is whether the venture attitude is building value for customers: yes, it’s a rhetoric question as you should know by now that my answer is no. Finally, I won’t miss to address in a future post the objection from Fabrizio about the “services don’t scale” mantra (should you unsubscribe now, know that the answer is they do scale, and they scale sustainably).

This Think Tank wrap-up wouldn’t be complete without noting how I had a wonderful time in Paris, and how it’s hard to give enough kudos points to Andrew Aitken of Olliance and Alexandre and Celine Zapolsky from our fellow colleagues of Linagora. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to meet all the Think Tank folks in Napa next year. And you should be there as well.



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