Speaking at OSCON 2015 Amsterdam: bootstrapping a business around open source

OSCON 2015

On the 27th of October, Ninh Bui and I (Hongli Lai) will be speaking at OSCon 2015 Amsterdam. It is about a topic that we have been involved in for 7 years, namely that of bootstrapping a business around open source.

As open source enthusiasts, Ninh and I started Phusion in 2008 with the goal of making Ruby and Rails production deployment simple, reliable and enjoyable. Thus Passenger was born. We have made great strides since then and nowadays we have expanded Passenger's reach to Node.js, Python and Meteor with more languages on the horizon. But funding is not a problem that solves itself, and thus we had to figure out how to make money.

Our core offering is a free product, and most shops don't accept “thanks” as a currency, so how are we able to continue to pay the bills? How do we even do this without VC funding?

This talk tells the tale of two young developers and their quest to build a good and successful product that at the same time must be able to provide for their future families. If you have ever entertained the idea of building a business around your open source project, then this talk is for you. From business models to marketing, we will share our experiences in setting up a company like Phusion (your mileage may vary!).

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