John Roberts, CEO and co-founder of commercial, open source, Silicon Valley firm SugarCRM, which has its European headquarters in Dublin, will be heading to the inaugural Irish Web Technology conference on Thursday not just to give a talk but also to scout around for several new employees.
“We made a bet on Ireland and Dublin over a year ago in the hope there would be sharp engineering talent here and it has been great so far. This conference is validation that Ireland gets web technology,” said Roberts.
Locating European headquarters in Dublin wasn’t just for tax reasons, said Roberts, it was more due to the fact that as well as having a strong, emerging tech workforce, the energy in Dublin city is much like that of Silicon Valley and the cultures match well: both have a very progressive state of mind.
Roberts said that as a company which began with three guys and an open source project, what he can bring to the table as a speaker at the IWTC is to talk about how SugarCRM knows firsthand that the state of software development has changed over the past four or five years and is changing right now.
“We have seen this mentality shift: it used to be thought that if you were based in Silicon Valley you wrote the best software and if it doesn’t come from there it is typically not very good or creative.
“Now we’re seeing that the internet has made it possible for, in our case, three guys to get together with a vision of a new class of customer relationship management software which had fallen out of interest.
“When we wrote the software, we simply posted it on the internet under an open source licence and over three years later we have over 3,000 customers from 40 different countries.
The manufacturing process behind the development of software has changed, he explains. The traditional proprietary software model has been challenged by SugarCRM, among others, where the notion of an open source project could be used for serious business software.
Roberts said that it takes adjustment to write code and develop software openly like this in public: the opposite from the traditional, locked-in mentality of the bigger software corporations.
He feels Microsoft’s switch to open source may not necessarily be down to the urge to follow this trend but could be due to an EU ruling passed last week.
By Marie Boran
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