Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Billion Dollar

Have you heard of the open source database MySQL? If yes, have you also heard that it is acquired by Sun Micro Systems? And it is a whooping one billion dollar deal (can some one help me finding out how many zeros does a billion have !!!!).
So here is a company started in 1998, made their first release in 2000 as an open source and now made one Billion dollars with the head count of just above 400 employees(most of them working remotely).

This left me wondering as to what it takes to achieve a feat as good as this. It is this curiosity that tempted me in digging more non-technical details about MySQL. Isn’t it impressive that “More than 100 million copies of MySQL's database software have been downloaded and distributed and an additional 50,000 copies are downloaded daily”? And what is more interesting is that only 1% of the users actually pay MySQL for using the product and their support.

The world self divides into those who are ready to sped time to save money and those who are ready to spend money to save time ” says Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL who is now a senior vice-president of Sun (sounds so simple and true once you hear it.. right?). It is in-fact true that there are more people who spend time to save money compared to those who spend money to save time. But those are the people who made MySQL famous and powerful, compared to the ones who spend money to save time.

Doesn’t it look simple? Start a company, make it an open source, increase the popularity and sell it for a Billion dollar in 5-10 years. Or may be it looks simple only to see others doing it. May be spending those 5-10 years in wild goose chase isn’t that easy after all. But the fact is ‘you'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you when you look back in life. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it!