Ockam's Zero-to-IPO framework is a product and GTM roadmap for open source

Ockam is a really interesting open source product that uses #did and #verifiable-credentia in the #iot space.

It is inevitable that data and computing power will become ever more distributed across the edge and the cloud.

Building distributed systems of interconnected devices has become exceptionally difficult. Old tools, and the best of intentions, have been contorted past their breaking point. It takes massive budgets and highly specialized teams to ensure data integrity, security, and privacy - which means most connected systems remain negligently vulnerable.

Millions of application developers need access to simple tools.

Hundreds of technologies need to be integrated.

This blog post is about their framework for thinking about community and ultimately company growth – zero to IPO.

Good reading for their take on community and metrics per stage.

The cloud, edge, and open source landscape continues to evolve - which means that we need to chart our own course into the future. However, Ockam’s route to IPO also considers the various ways that other companies have run the gauntlet from Zero-to-IPO. I’ve been fortunate to have been ‘in the rooms where it happened’. Over the past 10 years I’ve directly worked with well over 100 companies that were underpinned by open source software projects. I’ve seen spectacular successes, breathtaking failures, modest acquisitions, and some companies that simply fade into the darkness. I’ll save those stories for another time, maybe over a beer.

In order to recruit our team, or for a developer to consider using Ockam, first they have to know we exist. We create and distribute a tremendous amount of content at Ockam with one goal - driving developer awareness.

For example, The first product Ockam shipped was a blog on our Values. The second was a white paper that shared our vision. Even this post is an example! We have a learning library that outlines our thesis on the open source ecosystem, teaches computer science fundamentals, gives insights into our team culture, and demonstrates our technology. We’ve sat down for dozens of podcasts and interviews over the past two years. Ockam’s content is based around teaching. Being an effective listener and a great teacher are core underpinnings when building an open source community.

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Oooh, the truest part of that for me is the Anti-metrics:

Anti-Metrics

There will be noise in our Inside Sales data!

The noise is any sale that looks like it could be Enterprise Sales. Up to this point, non-recurring engineering (NRE) and enterprise-like sales don’t count as Enterprise Sales, as we define the term in the next section. Typically they are one-off deals because the motion to win these deals isn’t scalable. We will do large custom deals to gain access to smart teams that deploy interesting technology. I prefer to categorize this class of revenue as ‘business development’ or even R&D.

Why is this an anti-metric? Because other Open Source startups typically stand up a couple one-off enterprises like sales as a way to puff themselves up and to convince themselves that they are ready to move to the next phase. I strongly caution my future self to parse the noise from the signal prior to launching Enterprise Sales.

Furthermore, there are other Open Source companies that entirely bypass the Self Serve SaaS phase in favor of the chunky revenue that comes with Enterprise Sales. Those companies tend not to be product companies. They become consulting and services shops that dress up to look like primary product companies. That’s not our vision. We are a tool company. We build products.