What does it mean to be open source, when you are brick and mortar?

Open Source – the business model of the future!

Everyone knows that the best and most popular software is open-source. [1] Photography, music and many other content types have Creative Commons. Many other types of businesses are also looking for ways to get in on this economy of free.

But what does that look like for brick and mortar business? Share your blueprints with the world and ask them to help you make them better? Share you business plan, employee manual and business processes? Share all internal documents, software, and prices for sales and purchases?

Can you even do brick and mortar business that way?

Does it go deeper?

Does it mean sharing facilities, employees, equipment, even management? Shared advertising? Share fulfillment?

Some of this has been done for centuries in the brick and mortar world. Does that mean that Free and Open Source was invented before the internet?

How can you tell? What is at the very core of  Free and Open Source? And how could that apply to things other than information products and services?

[1] Yes, the supremacy of Open Source is a matter of opinion. Humor me, keep reading and leave a comment. Whether you think it is better or not these are still some interesting questions.

One response to “What does it mean to be open source, when you are brick and mortar?

  1. Paul C. Quillman

    I am going to go ahead and be the guy that disagrees with you on Open Source. Sure, OS has it’s place, but rarely have I ever found OS to be equal to the hype, and worth the effort. After quickly scanning the programs on my laptop, I can say that I currently use no Open Source apps or software. And I don’t think Microsoft allows Open Source apps in the mobile Marketplace, so there shouldn’t be any on my phones.

    Open Source may work in a brick and mortar context, if you could trust the people you are sharing with not to wrongly capitalize on your business process, your customers, your products, etc. However, given human nature, I don’t know that large scale adaptation of any Open Source business model will happen. Too much risk for too little reward. Being quazi brick and mortar myself, I see the possibility of some cost savings in Open Source on the front end, but like an Open Source OS, there is a learning curve the size of the Grand Canyon that is going to cost me more than if I had taken the traditional approach.

    I use several canned, out of the box pieces of software at the moment, but it moving to a canned out of the box unified software package is definately in the plans for the future. The hours and hours saved in letting someone else who knows how to fix bugs, and make a out of the box package work is well worth the money, for me.

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