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OCS 2020 Breakout: Gabriel Engel, Founder and CEO of Rocket.Chat

Gabriel Engel founded Rocket.Chat in 2015 and is passionate about collaboration tools, open-source and new tech. Prior to Rocket.Chat, Gabriel co-founded Konecty, and worked as Product Manager for Business Innovation and Mobile Applications at Vodafone Global Enterprise. Gabriel’s long-term vision for Rocket.Chat is to replace email with a real-time federated communications platform.

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Exploring how the future of communication and collaboration inevitably evolves around innovative open source solutions.

Tell me how you came to learn about open source. What’s your background before starting Rocket.Chat? - 0:20

When did you open-source Rocket.Chat? And you said someone in the MeteorJS community that they had an open-source Slack? - 5:11

What motivated this? Why build an open-source Slack? - 7:44

Talk about the first few months of the open-source life. What were critical actions that drove adoption, awareness, and excitement? How did you approach development and engineering early on? - 9:10

I love that story of how your curiosity led to the investment. DId you interact with Eliot Horowitz at MongoDB? - 13:24

I’ve experienced similar things, and been very lucky to get to know some many people in the open-source world through working on Kubernetes early on. So tell me about the early days of the company. You raised $5 million in seed from NEA. What was the first year like after raising your seed? - 15:11

Tell me about your journey into commercialization. How do you build product around the open source, what does that look like, what are you charging money for, and how have you experimented around business models? What are your learnings around that? - 18:25

Tell me more about the marketplace. Is it possible for someone to buy just a specific paid feature, only one part of the paid product? Or buying a full edition? How do you think about dividing all the features in the marketplace? - 21:17

My mind goes to the Apple AppStore when I hear you talk about your marketplace. How is this marketplace different? Talk about the business model, where you can enable commerce for your own partners as well as Rocket.Chat the company. - 23:48

Talk about the size of the company, your distribution of employees around the world, and culture. How have you thought about building a successful culture? - 24:55

Talk about how you focus on measuring the business and the open source. Which metrics and KPIs do you focus on the most? - 29:31

Let’s talk about the category of digital communication platforms. Chat, messaging. What do you see are the drivers of growth in this emerging category? What do you think this technology will look like in five years? - 32:35

Talk about this protocol vision more. Why is it important to have a decentralized messaging protocol, and what would that actually look like? - 36:10


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