Well I’m going through the first merger I’ve ever been directly associated with. As I pointed out in a previous post the project I founded, Jinzora, is merging with our biggest “competitor” Netjuke (competitor is the wrong word as we are all open source, but keeping with the M&A discussion I’ll use those kind of terms…)
Aside from what I assume are the normal merger issues (different personalities, different ideas, different ways of doing things) I think a merger in the open space world is a bit different. The reason I think this is that almost everyone working on an open source project is doing it because they are passionate about it. Since you’re not getting paid the enjoyment of coding the project is the main motivation. I’d guess that in the traditional world that in a merger the top guys are the ones passionate about it, but the lowly workers really don’t care nearly as much (someone correct me if I’m wrong here). In open source that’s just not the case.
So my biggest challenge with this new project is how to now manage a team of 5 when we were a team of 2. How do I manage 5 people who are all very passionate (and I assume very opinionated) about how this should work? Well I don’t have the answer yet, I’m definitely in uncharted territory for me, and I’m guess pretty new waters in general. On April fools Gallery and Coppermine (two big photo gallery projects) announced a merger. It was a hoax. This isn’t. What the hell do we do next?
Well, hopefully I can keep everyone on the same page, keep egos from getting bruised (including mine), and move forward building the most amazing open source app anywhere. Yeah it’s a lofty goal, but I think we did a great job with Jinzora 2.0 and that we’ll all do a great job with Product 3.0 (yeah, we don’t know what to call it yet, something I’m sure all M&A processes go through).