When you talk about BROs and tech in the same sentence, the first thing that comes to your mind is group of 20 something pair-programming, women marginalising, silicon-valleyish nerdy guys. But thats not the same BROs I am talking about here. I’m talking about B.R.Os, which is the acronym of Bootstrapped, Remote, Opensource and why I think it is the future of all software and eventually all companies.
Venture Capital as a model of industry is extremely flawed. There are very few VC firms which have given actual positive annualised returns through real exits ( acquisitions or IPOs) and not just on-paper valuation markups of their portfolio companies. Entrepreneurs are realising how bad the odds stack up against them once they raise venture capital. And there are very few niche verticals where the economics of venture capital play out with exponential disproportionate growth & hence outcomes. All tech is not the same terrain.
So smart entrepreneurs have started taking a contrarian approach and are building their companies in a sustainable bootstrapped manner. Software is the only industry where such economics are possible because you just have to build the product once and then you can literally sell infinite copies without getting bogged down by conventional problems of low margins, inventory management, production hell etc. Software is the only craft which can scale. So I think all future software companies will be Bootstrapped or rather customer funded.
The best part about digital work is that it doesn’t require your physical presence for actual work to be done. Work done in the digital domain means manipulation, creation alignment of bits (1s and 0s) while work done in conventional physical domain means manipulation of actual real atoms. Communication tools have come a long way from the early days of dial up internet to modern webRTC based video calling. Digital collaboration has never been so easy. So modern software companies are leveraging this advancement in tools, internet bandwidth to hire talent from all across the world while giving their existing employees full flexibility with their work location.
If a developer has to work on his laptop all the time , so how the hell does it make a difference that he is at his home with his wife or dog or sitting and working from a beach in Pattaya. Everyday more and more people are becoming digital nomads. Travelling to work everyday and working within the confines of a building is just soul crushing. Remote work is the future of digital work and it is a matter of time that all digital companies will embrace this trend.
Long time ago Bill Gates wrote that the biggest enemy of Microsoft was Free Software. With the unstoppable phenomenon that Linux has become, I think it would be pretty safe to say that proprietary software built by corporate developer-cum-humanoids can’t win against Opensource software. Windows loss to Linux is just one of the example where an opensource project won against its proprietary counter part. I think all future software companies will have their software opensourced, because nobody likes to get locked down and openosurce software gives people the flexibility to customize the solutions for their particular needs without paying rent to a draconian evil software corporation.
Opensource projects leverage contributions from 1000s of enthusiasts and experts alike from all over the world, which is simply impossible for a closed source software company to emulate.There are lot of great examples like WordPress, Gitlab, Enpointer etc and there is no stopping for this trend.
Software companies fit the perfect bill for becoming B.R.Os , but this doesn’t mean that companies in other verticals have to run the same legacy way and there’s a lot which companies can learn from software B.R.Os. So is your company on path to become a B.R.O ?