Yesterday, npm, Inc. announced that it had closed a $2.6MM round of funding. This was met with a bunch of derision on Twitter. I feel this is not only unwarranted, but backwards: I think this investment signals a nascent trend within the VC community, and a more honest view of how open source actually works.
Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp.
We could sum up the news thusly: Don’t join a business without a signed agreement.
Signed agreements are good—we started with one I drafted in 2009 and graduated to a real operating agreement when we split our business entities in 2013—but I’ve seen a handful of disagreements go to court at this point and merely having something on paper is far from foolproof. I’ll quote myself from 2010:
It is entirely possible for you to begin a partnership without having ever read this book. It is further possible that you will enjoy tremendous success whether through the foresight that you cunningly displayed in choosing your partners, planning your growth, and moving your product or by blind chance and undeserved luck. In either case, there will likely come a day when the principles espoused by Gage will be shockingly relevant. I urge you to find and read this book now. An ounce of prevention in this case is worth many thousands of dollars, hundreds of wasted hours, and the poisoned relationships that result when partnerships sour.
Partnerships are nearly as complicated, demanding, and, thankfully, rewarding as marriages, so while your charter won’t bind you together until death, it had better have a plan for better and for worse, for sickness and for health, for richer and for poorer.
Partnerships, like all business and personal arrangements, are relationships. It’s your responsibility to be fair to your partner and, perhaps more importantly, to recognize an abusive relationship for what it is and flee before it’s too late.
Thus, if I had the $10 million, I’d invest in Box. Unfortunately, I don’t, which gives me the luxury of sitting back and observing which matters more: consumer headway in a market where enterprise pays, or enterprise capability – and business model – with a smaller base.
We‘ve been looking for a better shared storage model recently. Dropbox for Business would be fantastic, I’m sure, but it’s a little spendy. Transporter seems pretty great too. Bring-your-own-hard-drives is appealing as is the price. The worry there is administration and, mostly, integration with other services. I’m not sure sure why we didn’t give Box a serious look, but we will now.
They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America.
Anybody want to start a maple syrup farm with me? I’ve got in-laws with land and a serious sweet-tooth.