July. Around 4 months of freelancing. Time to look back.
While I had certain ideas in mind on possible software projects, things turned out a bit different in the meantime.
As I previously described, I expected to find customers with interests in distributed “research & development” or “open” source software.
But most software projects that I see focus on processes like TDD or Scrum, or frameworks like Rails or Angular. From both, technical and from business model perspectives, I find these projects less interesting, since processes and frameworks constrain the vision on products. And, it is hard to see elegance when the user of the software is unclear, or the problem the software should solve, or how to make money from the digital product you should build.
So, unfortunately, my first idea of supporting “research & development” projects has not yet worked out, at least not in the context of developing software.
Yet living in Germany, and Bavaria especially, there is one kind of product that makes a number of companies successfull: Cars.
First, the business models of cars is clear: Buy parts, assemble these, and sell the result at a higher price than the total costs of the parts. With the dawn of the electrical car and new mobility models, there are plenty of companies that invest in R&D currently. And while cars are all around us, the requirements on their parts are heavily changing.
As an important side-effect, it is the automotive industry, where I found my first good, interesting freelance project.
I am currently supporting a company with R&D of new car products. While it is not directly a software project, I can apply my ideas on software perfectly. Me and my team members are the users of my software products, the problems the software must solve are very clear too.
Due to nature of my contract, the work is not open-source, at least not from the implementation point of view. When working with these large companies, specifications and protocols are partly open. But how the specs are achieved or the protocols are implemented, is part of the company secrets, and part of their business model.
Luckily, with my learnings on writing a book for O’Reilly and a comment of Nathen Seidle on open-source hardware, I got some fresh perspectives on how digital products can be built with an open-source approach, albeit hardware products.
To document my learnings on hardware products and an open-source approach around it, I will switch the blog for a while. My new writings on hardware will be at: blog.farsinotare.com. Since we are just at the beginning of connecting hardware devices, and there is much to learn, I also founded the Munich Arduino Meetup. Arduino, yet another great company that makes users happy with “open” products.