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Business v/s Code-only Mindset

by Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

Having a business mindset is better than having a code/engineering only mindset.

With a business mindset you care about the objective. Having a code only mindset, you are focused about quality, metrics and practices. A business mindset makes you care about end users. A developer mindset has the tendency to focus on technically glorious features. A business mindset shifts feature direction to one that aligns with the objective. A business mindset cares about people at the expense of technical flashiness.

One easy way to develop a business mindset is OpenSource. Launching an OS project is like launching a business. You need to find a worthwhile problem to solve if you want people to use your product. Usage count is like your revenue. Once launched, you need to provide the best usage experience. You need a lot of marketing. Your product might be good, but if people don’t know about it, they won’t use it. You need to invest in documentation and fixing bugs which corresponds to the customer support experience. You also need to eye competitors and decide if competing features are worth integrating. We also need to see where we can push innovation and of what impact. A breakthrough requires a lot of research and effort, will it be relevant to users? One interesting addition is that, if you want industries (big players) to adopt your OS product, you need to provide good quality ones.

That’s one huge plus when contributing to OpenSource as the repo owner. You cannot take full control of a project when you just contribute. When you own the repo, you own the responsibility and reflect on mistakes. You also learn how to deal with people (contributors) as well as the board (co-maintainers). You need to also infuse in them the business mindset as they will tend to have a code mindset ^^.