Friday I handed in my resignation letter at the Shuttleworth Foundation. So did 8 other people who work with me. Sounds hectic? Well, it’s all on good terms, and there’s big excitement about it.
What’s happening? Well, some of the open source projects at the Foundation has approached the end of its funding cycle, and we’ve had some ideas of bussiness models to make some of these projects work commercially. The Foundation offered us startup capital, so that we can start a company and sustain the projects, which we accepted. During the last few months, we’ve been putting big parts of this company together, and during the last weeks, we’ve glued the biggest parts of it together. The new company will be called “Inkululeku Technologies”, and yes, we occasionally get our tongues twisted when saying it too :)
Inkululeku means freedom, and we will aim to provide the best free software solutions available to our clients. Initially, our focus will be narrow and specific. We will target schools and educational institutions, as part of the tuXlab project.
People have asked, what’s happening to the existing 200+ schools? Well, they won’t be dropped, we will continue to provide them with software updates, and the help desk will still be available, as it were before. We will also continue to monitor monthly meetings, open days and other community events, and implement a new incentives scheme to stimulate the communities in the current 200+ tuXlab schools.
We have some exciting jobs coming up, and we’re a very young team, and collectively we have lots of knowledge, although there’s lots of things we haven’t figured out yet in the past short months. Some erm… ‘older’ people (for lack of better term) have expressed concerns around governance. It’s something that we admittingly don’t have as much insight into as many of the old gaurd bussiness men, but we’re getting lots of external input and advice from lawyers, financial advisors and other consultants. We feel confident that we’ll push through, I guess this is our chance to proove ourselves. Financially, we require relatively little money to keep the company going, we’ve agreed to keeping our salaries low, and to make money first before moving into fancy offices, buying new cars, etc. We’ve subletting some office space from a local ISP. They are also big open source guys in Cape Town, and there might be some future collaboration between us too. We’re moving in on Monday, and another thing that is quite cool is that we’ll have a 10mbit Internet connection there, something that is almost unheard of in South Africa.
Working for a non-profit was weird and interesting and educational. I think everyone should try it at least once, and if possible, when you’re young before the big corporates have put your brains on a track. We’ve had visitors who have, for example, had big difficulty understanding that our Return on Investment was a non-financial factor :)
My day to day work will also change quite a bit. Instead of doing a little of everything, I will focus on our product development, of which a large portion will be software development, something that I’ve been wanting to focus on a long time. This gives me a chance to get more involved with some of the upstream projects that we have benefited from, such as Ubuntu, LTSP, Tux4kids, etc.
I get a feeling that the next few years will be very interesting. Watch this space :)