It’s difficult to put my finger on why, but for some reason I’ve always been fascinated when conventional wisdom is challenged and better results ensue. There is something intriguing to me when we think we have something figured out and, in reality, the situation is very different or counter-intuitive. I think this is why open source business models have interested me so much.
In the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert relays the story of a great saint that meditated on God with a number of other followers. The saint’s annoying cat impeded meditation, so it was tied to a pole outside the temple prior to meditating. Over time tying the cat to the pole became a ritual and prerequisite for successful mediation. Imagine the group’s despair when the cat died! They had no idea how they’d be able to successfully meditate without first tying the cat to the pole. A means to an end (removing the cat) had gotten in the way of staying focused on the real objective (meditating). Has the act of vendors open sourcing a technology become the modern-day version of tying the cat to the pole?