13 Oct
2012

How do you know if you can take your open-source project to the next level?

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693 days ago (wow), just shy of two years, I typed git push upstream master into Git Bash and pushed out the first public code of Nancy. Since then, and thanks to the fantastic response that we given by the .NET community, it’s been what I’ve spent the majority of my personal coding time on.
The last 6 months or so I’ve given more and more thought on how I could take Nancy to the next step. I mean I just turned 32 years old and perhaps I could spent my time on something more productive, like a service or application that had a price tag assigned to it?

Though Nancy is my passion. I truly believe there is enough room in the .NET market for ASP.NET alternatives, but could I make a living out of it? People seem to enjoy working with it, so why not? To some people that would be enough to quit their job and set off to work full-time in their project. That’s not me though. I’ve always been a bit cautious to life-changing decisions and even more so since I got married and had kids.

My main worry is that there is actually no real way to know if Nancy’s reach the critical mass that would be required to sustain a living of it. The obvious business possibilities would be to offer training, consultant services, try and get some speaks accepted at conferences and perhaps offer some sort of support.

Nik and Anthony, of Glimpse-fame, recently struck, what has to be seen as, the open-source jackpot when they were hired by Red Gate to work fulltime on Glimpse and the community it has built up. I’ve known Nik and Anthony for a while now and they’re awesome and it was a well deserved opportunity. Glimpse has helped out a lot of people and organizations and having a strong company, like Red Gate, supporting them is definitely going to make sure it helps even more.

But something like that is the hole-in-one of open-source, every golfer wants to make one, a lot claim they have, and very few have actually made it.

That said I know there are a lot of people out there that’s, successfully, transitioned their project from an evening-activity into a successful business. Maybe you’re one of them? Maybe you’re one of the people that also wonder how you can move forward? Would be awesome to hear from all of you what you think can be done.

The logical thing would be to ease into it. Sense the local market and see if there is someone in need of the services. But how would you reach out to them? Maybe I should kickstart it 😉

Blogging about this is probably the same thing as writing a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the people that read my blog are probably also people that in one way or another is (or have been) using Nancy on a fairly regular basis.

And yeah, pretty sure I’m having a bit of the open-source blues. The two year mark of an open-source project is the midlife crisis of open-source!

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The opinions and content expressed here are my own and not those of my employer.