Request for content: individual contributors within commercial open source companies

I'm looking for content for an upcoming focus on "the trenches" of open source operations.

I spent some time talking with Martin Plaehn, CEO of Bungee Labs. He said something that I found deeply poignant given my current role with Alfresco:

There are no old gladiators. There are only old gladiator coaches.

His point was that you often get promoted to management because you were the best in your given role, but you don't remain the best at that role for long. There are always better people coming up through the ranks, and your job as a manager is to enable and channel their superior expertise.

Thinking about my own team today, I realize that this is absolutely true. Martin Musierowicz, for example, who joined Alfresco from JBoss and runs our OEM/Alliances business, is infinitely better in that realm than I could hope to be. The same is true of the rest of my team. I could not do their jobs better than they can.

And, frankly, the same is probably true in your company, too. Which is why I'd like to highlight the perspectives of the front-line managers and individual contributors at various open source companies who are the future (and present) of open source, and make their businesses tick.

In particular, I'd like these people to submit short articles that address the following:

  1. Name, company, title, and what you actually do (as titles rarely tell the full story)
  2. Do you work remotely or in an office with co-workers?
  3. If you've had a similar role in a proprietary software company, how does your current role compare? Similarities? Differences?
  4. How familiar were you with open source before you joined your current company?
  5. Why did you join an open source vendor?
  6. How long did it take you to adjust to an open source operational mode?
  7. What do you think open source companies could learn from proprietary vendors?
I'd love to have responses back by July 1 so that I can start posting them that week. Again, I'm looking for directors, managers, or individual contributors - no VPs or executives.
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