March 21, 2016

How Community Building Can Help an Organization's Bottom Line

OSDC beesRecently I've had several conversations with open source friends and colleagues, each discussion touching upon—but not directly focused on—the subject of why a company would/should/could support a community around a project it has released as free/open source, or more generally to support the communities of F/LOSS projects on which they rely. After the third one of these conversations I'd had in nearly as many weeks, I dusted off my freelance business consulting hat and started mapping out some of the business reasons why an organization might consider supporting communities.

In this article, I'll look at community from a business perspective, including the effect community can have on an organization's bottom line. Although there are communities everywhere, I'll approach the topic—meaning, communities, their members, and their contributors—from a free/open source perspective.

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