Ask anyone who is involved in an open source project, getting recognized is one of the greatest kicks you get out of the whole deal.
So, when my Google alert picked up this news on OpenI listed in the Top 10 Free BI Apps list, it absolutely made my day. Of course, a lot of the credit goes to all the folks who have contributed to this project, and the open source community that has supported us all this time. And thanks to Tamina Vahidy for recognizing the project.
When we started OpenI back in July 2005, we just wanted to subsidize our R&D. We needed a BI platform to deploy our analytical models, and instead of opting for commercial BI platforms which would have never fit into our cost model, we decided to develop a BI platform using available open source components, and also as an open source project of its own. We figured if we get even a couple of people outside of our company to pitch — whether it was design help, or just thinking through requirements, use cases we hadn’t encountered — that alone would pay for the efforts to make it open source.
Well, not only we got design help and advice from a great deal of smart folks in the space, we even have people contributing code. I remember someone (maybe Steve Weber) making a point about open source development model — not all the smart people in the world work for you, so the only way to get them involved in your projects is via open source (ok, you may argue crowdsourcing ideas such as Netflix’s contest, but I don’t have a $ 1 million to give away in prize money
So — here we are — working on version 1.3 of the product. We are using it internally as the web front-end of our commercial product. Of course, it has ways to go — but as contribution and recognition keep coming in, it just seems like a much more rewarding way to develop software.
I have been in the technology industry over 10 years, wearing different leadership hats in product development and management. In 2001, I co-founded a marketing analytics software company in San Francisco (Loyalty Matrix) as its CTO, and grew the company until 2007, when we were acquired by Responsys, now a part of Oracle. After that, I founded OpenI as a consulting company to help clients like Responsys Oracle, Kaspersky Labs, UCSF, and CareerBuilder with big data analytics and dashboard solutions.
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