Living the dream: running a FOSS company from your backpack

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


This presentation explains how I've been running my business and traveling at the same time for the past 4 years. Please be inspired!

Text of Living the dream: running a FOSS company from your backpack

  • August 20th, 2011FrOSCon, Bonn, Germany

    Walter Heck,

    Living the dream: running a FOSS company out of your backpack


  • Who am I?

    Walter Heck, 30 years old Studied IT (for 2 years) Narcoleptic Traveler / hitchhiker / couchsurfer Diver / Hiker / Geek / Environmentalist / Metalhead


  • Timeline

    Worked in dutch corporate world 7 years Gave away all my stuff, quit my job and started

    traveling in 2007

    Started my company in 2008 when I ran out of money

    Lived in 4 continents in 4 years in Thailand, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brasil, Alaska and currently Turkey


  • OlinData

    Started because I didnt want to stop traveling Chose MySQL because I thought it was cool and fit for

    location independency

    Made 2000EU in the first 8 months only (with non-mysql work)

    Started consulting through Open Query and found 2 small clients

    Started oplexing (shared webhosting for professionals) in 2009, quit it in late 2010 after never making any money

    Started tribily (server monitoring as a service) in 2010


  • What worked?

    Winging it! Just get started! Dont be afraid to say goodbye to people, only work

    with skilled people who can work independently

    Keeping the goal (traveling while making money) in mind when making decisions

    Following my heart, not listening to what others told me from time to time


  • What worked (2)?

    Karma overrules business decisions Build discipline (work whenever I can) Persevere! Have benefits from being virtual: all knowledge

    online and transferable

    Do things the proper way, not the quick way


  • What didnt?

    Trying to make money out of shared hosting Trying to hold on to something that clearly didnt


    Doing work remotely that wasnt suitable for it Elance (ugh!)


  • Marketing

    Speaking at conferences (ok, its also a lot of fun ;) ) Google SEO (Write content) (25% of all visits) Commenting on related blog posts (20%) Responding to tweets, forums etc. Google Search Alert


  • Finding people

    Its hard! 1 good employee == 5 lousy ones Techies? Chat interview first! Personal network / references Low income countries


  • Why FOSS / Openness?

    Sharing is caring Code that needs to be open needs to be reusable

    (==well structured/designed?)

    Giving back to a community that gives me so much Hope for external contributors


  • What do we do with/for FOSS

    Using: puppet, mysql (MariaDB), zabbix, drupal, debian, php, redmine

    Sharing back: Drupal to zabbix module Zabbix templates Zabbix frontend modifications Zabbix server binary patches

    Help out on forums, irc, mailing lists


  • Future plans

    Grow organically, no outside funding Employ people from low income countries with decent


    Create time to work on a project that changes the world Move from the mysql business (non-stable income) to the

    tribily business (stable, not depending on amount of work)

    Settle down in a nice location on the planet with home office

    But first: travel more!


  • Dreams

    Live off the grid but still connected Make enough money to support employees and

    their families

    Rule the world. >:)


  • Questions / Feedback ?


  • The End!