Does open source make it easier for a SMB to get going? We are going to show examples in practice. The first small business relies on a mix of Open Source and commercial software; the second is almost solely dependent on Open Source. The economics of the businesses are noticeably different.
The first example is of someone with no intention to go big but rather do something she loved, and decided to make some money doing it. There were no patent attorneys, trademark lawyers, big events in San Francisco or New York. She seems very happy with where her business is today and where she is going with it. And happiness is one part of the metrics game that does not show up on a balance sheet. The second example is a couple who wanted to start their own business, looked around for something they could try to make a go of, and found a unique niche. They would like to get big but understand that they need to take steps to get there.
In both cases, it is hard to imagine these companies trying to start up 20 years ago, when you could barely reach new customer outside of your own town, let alone reach international customers, or change their offerings quickly (remember brochures), or build their own marketing list rather than renting strangers' names.
We recently spoke with Julie Weisenberger, who owns Coco Knits (CocoKnits.com). ...