What happens when I'm sure my product will be worth lots of money, but I'm not personally interested in trying to sell it?
Shared by mkaic · 250d ago · 9 comments

Hi! I'm Kai, and I'm currently in R&D trying to build an AI that can take over the role of green screen in many visual effects shots. It's a product I wish I had, and which I know many other filmmakers would find very useful. I'm pretty confident that if I can get the darn thing working and shipped as a standalone app, people would be willing to buy it.

Problem is... I don't really have much interest in selling it. I like to write code, make movies, and solve problems, and I joined Pioneer as a way to help motivate me to do two of those.

As it stands, my monetization framework is "build the thing, then sell it for 20 bucks or something." I want to make a product that's as accessible to as many filmmakers as possible, to the point that I've even strongly considered going the free-open-source route.

Is there anything wrong with my approach? It just feels so distinctly... un-business-y to me compared to all the other projects I see here on Pioneer.

Would love to hear people's thoughts on this, and if there's anyone else who's in a similar situation I'd love to chat.

nathankoo · 247d ago

Hey Kai, it sounds like you're more of a creator and a technical founder. If your interest isn't in the commercialization and business development side of this, perhaps you should look for a co-founder who understands entrepreneurship and commercialization well. This could be someone you meet or an investor with experience. For example in my startup, I'm the business lead and my co-founder is the engineering lead (I thought I'd post this because you sound just like my co-founder; he doesn't enjoy the business aspect while I do a lot). Anyways if you choose to find a co-founder, good luck in your search!

adrientalou · 250d ago

Make it completely open source and then offer guidance and support. Spread the word.

adrientalou · 250d ago

You can make money this way

mkaic · 250d ago

Interesting, would you be able to point me towards an example of a FOSS project that does this?

Mescalan · 245d ago

Hi Kai, I think @AndyDent-Touchgram and @nathankoo have a good point and i believe you can create a great business with your technology if you match with a business partner.

Adding to the options they said maybe it's also interesting for you to take a look at Venture Builders, there are some specialized in matching technical and business partners plus guidance/investment/etc.

And if i were you i would also check for the companies that could be interested in your technology, for example video editing software companies, and see if they have "open innovation" platforms/programs or internal accelerators. They already have the product in the market they can "ship" the product to the end user a lot faster than you and they would love to acquire it since it will be a huge competitive advantage for them.

I know it's not the most entrepreneurial mindset but I've done things like this in the past and corporations are willing to pay even if they are not used to external proposals

Also if you want to keep it for free for everyone you can detail it in the agreement and find a way in which both parts can benefit, for example the company can offer the software for free as a trial or a way to attract future paying users to their main software program and you can continue working for them or define a price and sell everything, or a mix of both.

Anyway, this are just some ideas, let me know if i should go deeper in the examples.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 249d ago

I'm a bit of a contrarian with some of these open source recommendations, partly because of age and also some bad experiences. Don't take advice from someone on how to make a living from something unless they are at least living that way themselves!

Once it is out, it is out of your control. You can't really go back.

It is easy for people to say you can make money in support but I've been around open source tooling for decades and I know there are very few cases where this happens.

Even in vital web infrastructure, major security bugs have happened, like Heartbleed, because core components on which many people rely are not paid for - people cannot live off this and they don't get contributions to fund the time they need to put in.

There's nothing sadder than a great open source project that's left to die because someone just cannot personally justify the time to maintain it, and this is not great for your reputation.

Also, releasing something as open source will not necessarily put it in the hands of many film makers. Unless people build code from scratch, or are heavily into a Linux infrastructure where they use such packages, they are often nervous of it. People want built apps if they are standard desktop users.

I'm happy to give more advice but need more details on where it runs, can it run in web pages or on mobile as native filters?

The most successful piece of open source I've released is probably a library called expatpp which sat on top of a fast C processing library for XML and made it dramatically easy to write complex parsers.

Steam used it!

They didn't even bother contributing their changes back.

I only found out a few years later when there was a book about XML and I saw my name mentioned, then found a related magazine article interviewing one of the guys from Steam.

kendsouza · 249d ago

Whether you want to make profit of your creation or open source it, either way you have to spend time 'marketing' it for folks to use it. You obviously want many other filmmakers to use it. There's no way for them to know about it unless you spend time reaching out to them.

ogboremmanuel · 249d ago

You go public IPO

dassyareg · 249d ago

Well, it is your product and you get to decide how and what you want to do with your product. You can make it open source and give detailed documentation on how to use it. GitHub seems like a nice platform, you can also get contributors willing to pull and even make it better. I hope this helps.