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Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Egil Osthus, CEO and co-founder of Unleash, a feature management platform that has raised $16.5 million.

  • Unleash’s Open Source Philosophy: Egil discussed the strength and momentum coming from the open-source wave and how Unleash, as the largest open-source feature management tool, thrives on community engagement and contributions.
  • Norwegian Tech Ecosystem: Egil provided insights into Norway’s mature DevOps-focused tech scene, benefitting from high standards of living and skilled developers at modest salary levels. He highlighted the country’s transition from an oil-rich economy to embracing software and environmental-friendly industries.
  • Remote-first and Transparency: Egil expressed admiration for GitLab’s remote-first, fully transparent organizational model. He shared his aspiration to integrate similar values into Unleash, emphasizing transparency and remote collaboration.
  • Cultural Influence from Books: Two influential books Egil mentioned are a Norwegian book on organizational culture by Hanning Bang, offering tangible aspects of company culture, and “The Voltage Effect” by John List, focusing on experimental and methodical business development.
  • Challenges of Open Source and Commercial Tension: Egil talked about navigating the tension between maintaining an open-source community and pursuing commercial goals. He stressed the importance of integrity and transparency in balancing community expectations with business objectives.
  • Future Vision for Unleash: Looking ahead, Egil envisions expanding Unleash into new markets and product categories beyond feature management, aiming to simplify software developers’ lives and adapt to evolving software development needs globally.

Actionable
Takeaways

Embrace Open Source for Community Engagement:

Unleash's success as an open-source platform underscores the power of community engagement and contribution. Tech founders can consider open-source models to foster innovation, receive direct feedback from users, and build a loyal community around their product.

Adopt a Remote-first and Transparent Culture:

Inspired by GitLab's model, adopting a remote-first and fully transparent organizational structure can lead to a more inclusive, engaged, and productive team. This approach allows for tapping into global talent and fostering a culture of openness and trust.

Prioritize Product Development Based on Developer Needs:

Focusing on solving real problems for developers and creating a product that they love is crucial. By staying true to the needs of your target audience and offering practical solutions, you can build a product that stands out amidst the competition.

Balance Open Source Contributions with Commercial Objectives:

The challenge of maintaining an open-source community while pursuing commercial goals requires transparency and integrity. Clearly communicate your business model and value proposition to both your community and customers to maintain trust and support growth.

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