July 20, 2005 § Leave a comment
The community-business-minded-ness of the Bryght team was a refreshing surprise. They get community, they get business … and they know open source can be both.
Boris, Kris and some friends run Bryght, a Vancouver company that offers quick and dirty (plus almost-as-quick and very pretty) web sites based on the Drupal online community platform. Most small open source companies live off customization, set up or support fees. Not Bryght. They just set up your Drupal site in a flash, and then charge you for hosting by the month. In less than a year, they have 800+ sites and a rock-solid ‘beta’ product.
Now, Drupal hosting may not excite you. But, I would argue, open source application service providers (companies that offer hosted applications) should raise your eyebrow. In my opinion, the ASP model offers companies a way to provide real value to customers (simple, fast, always updated) AND participate in the collective production process of open source (the Bryght guys are from the community and submit tons of code back to Drupal) at the same time. Despite the value, and obviousness, of this model, there are only a handful good open source ASPs on the planet.
For me, Bryght’s ASP model points to a future where open source businesses survive through innovative business processes and good customer service, not through technical superiority. Boris, Kris, et al have rolled up much of their business process knowledge into the (proprietary) Bright Provisioning Platform. This is what they use to set up Drupal sites fast, and is also something they will license to others who want to do the same thing. All the while, they keep innovating Drupal, contributing code back to the community and creating happy customers.
Also worth noting, the Bryght guys instantly got the telecentre.org online vision. They’ve seen what a bunch of small pieces loosely joined (many small sites + RSS + common passion) can do. In fact, much of the Drupal innovation they are playing with – collective translation of content, large scale implementations of interconnected sites, content aggregation, etc. – is really hooked into the idea of distributed, community-driven approaches. Which, of course, is perfect: we need allies who get this vision.
PS. Thanks to Kris Krug and hist photostream for the pic above.