Thinking more about the open source business plan idea
July 10, 2011
A week ago, I posted an entry about the idea of open-sourcing business plans. The basic theory would be to put a business plan up on the web, possibly in a Wikipedia-like format, and let people comment and edit on it. I have no idea whether this is a good use of time or not, but I like it for a few reasons:
I can set it up cheaply and without too much time commitment (a couple days of setting up a server and putting some notes and other content in)
It’d be a useful tool for me to have, even if all it is is a journal for the ideas I’m coming up with
I think it could serve as a useful resource for (first-time) entrepreneurs, in lots of ways - you could post your own idea and see what feedback there is, or you could think about others’ and use that as input for your creative process
I think the downsides are somewhat minimal - I went back and forth with a lot of people about “whether I should keep my startup ideas secret” and the answer was generally “no - talk to as many people as you can.” Why? Because the idea by itself is worth $0. And, because if you are good at coming up with ideas, you should give them away.
In the week since making that post, I’ve had a few further thoughts about this. First of all, Adafruit actually responded to my tweet about this with a link to what they call an open-source business plan for a laser cutting business (it’s just the operations stuff, although that is really helpful).
Secondly, I realized that there are lots of posts about failed startups where they talk about the business model, and sometimes even post their code - take this one from Hacker News today, for example.
So, I think I will try to set this up in the next week or so. (That means I have to finish 3 “maker” projects this week, which I’m happy about but which I also feel basically guilty about because it’s so much fun.) The site will have 3 components:
A Hacker News-like voting system for business ideas (with “votes” having a half-life to make sure content is refreshed constantly). I think I can use Pligg for this
A Wiki page that each item links to
Maybe I’ll put together a random business idea generator, based on the code I used for my cheese plate generator, heh.
Should be fun! I’ll post here (or there) when I have more info. I’d love any feedback!