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Cover image for OCS 2023 Amanda Robson (Cowboy Ventures) and Timothy Chen (Essence VC) of the Open Source Startup Podcast
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OCS 2023 Amanda Robson (Cowboy Ventures) and Timothy Chen (Essence VC) of the Open Source Startup Podcast

Amanda Robson, better known as "Robby", is a Partner at Cowboy Ventures. Before joining Cowboy, Robby was an early-stage investor at Norwest Venture Partners. There, she worked with a number of enterprise software companies including AI & robotics company 6 River Systems (acq. by Shopify), open source compliance management company Fossa, and Dremio building the open source data lakehouse.

Timothy Chen is the Managing Partner at Essence Venture Capital.with a decade of experience leading engineering in enterprise infra and open source communities / companies.

Prior to Essence, Tim was the SVP of Engineering at Cosmos, a popular open source blockchain SDK. Prior to Cosmos, Tim cofounded Hyperpilot with Stanford Professor Christos Kozyrakis leveraging decades of research to disrupt the enterprise infrastructure space, which later exited to Cloudera. Prior to Hyperpilot, Tim was early employee at Mesosphere and CloudFoundry.

Tim and Amanda (β€œRobby”) introduce themselves. - 0:00

Introducing the podcast - 0:50

Learnings from the podcast, overview of presentation in 6 points. - 1:40

Lesson #1: Know why open source. Build trust. User expectations. Mass distribution. Community development. - 2:10

Lesson #2: OSS models can look very different. - 5:59

Lesson #3: Building a community is really hard. - 8:50

Lesson #4: Know the β€œTastemakers” - 10:05

Lesson #5: Project-Market Fit does not equal Product-Market Fit - 11:20

Lesson #6: Respect the open source contract - 12:40

Opening up to questions - 13:45

What do you think about separating the open-source into a non-profit foundation, from the need to make money? - 14:13

Setting expectations and communicating openly - 17:00

Question about breaking trust over time, and open-source foundations. From a VC perspective, is an open-source foundation a no-go? - 17:30

Sustainable and fair code license. What is your perspective on this trend? - 21:45

Have you seen any open core companies, where the community started building competing features? - 25:10

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