Facebook is like IKEA is like...open source?

Is open source like IKEA?

Slate is positioning Facebook's reliance on user-generated content as a bit like IKEA:

Ikea keeps its costs and prices low by enlisting its customers--their time, their cars, their ambitions as interior designers, and their inflated ideas of their carpentry skills.

Management experts Rafael Ramirez and Richard Normann pointed this out in the Harvard Business Review back in 1993. Ikea, they argued, was a success because it enabled "value co-production."

The article's author goes on to credit Microsoft with creating a value co-production platform but completely overlooks the open-source software industry. Is open source like IKEA? Well, I'd like to believe that open source is much better than IKEA's good enough and cheap products. That's where we were five to ten years ago. We've moved beyond then.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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