We had our third annual DotNetNuke Board of Directors meeting last week in Seattle. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current challenges we are facing with the project as well as the strategic direction moving forward. In past years, the meeting was almost entirely dominated by technical discussion but this year the focus was more management-oriented, reflecting the maturity of project and the diversity of the community.
One of most significant themes at the meeting was the concept of "balance". In the past, we had always taken what we thought was an objective stance on the separation between the open source project and the commercial ecosystem it had spawned. Since we were the stewards of the core project, we tried to avoid anything which could lead to potential conflict of interest scenarios. Generally this involved focussing on the open source community and avoiding direct interaction with commercial stakeholders. Interestingly, the commercial ecosystem seemed to thrive almost in spite of the fact that we were trying to ignore it. Gradually we began to come to the realization that there are actually two very powerful influences in the project and that both are essential to its long term stability - the "yin" and "yang" of DotNetNuke. These complementary forces need to be embraced in order to preserve the delicate balance within the project. I believe our current mission statement does a good job of describing our ongoing commitment to this dichotomy:
"Our mission is to create opportunities and spread entrepreneurship to the world by providing a superior open source web application framework which cultivates a passionate developer community as well as a prosperous commercial ecosystem."
If we dig into the mission statement in more detail and focus on some of the key words and phrases, it may help you understand some of the strategic direction and community programs we intend to roll out in the coming months.
"create opportunities" - from the very beginning the project has constantly pushed modularity and extensibility as a key architectural principle. This "abundance mentality" has created a wealth of opportunities for developers and designers to push the limits of the application and create innovative solutions to technical and business problems.
"spread entrepreneurship" - DotNetNuke may be a free open source project, but it also reveals a wealth of business opportunities. The "Product Halo" model allows entrepreneurial individuals and organizations to create and market ancillary products and services.
"to the world" - since its brand recognition is international, the project transcends geographical, racial, and political borders. Individuals and organizations anywhere in the world can participate in the active development community and ecosystem.
"superior" - from a technical perspective, we strive to create a best-of-breed software application using enterprise architecture and proven design patterns.
"open source" - in this day and age you simple can not ignore the benefits of an enterprise-friendly, open source software license, nor the power of the open source community in terms of influencing the creation of truly exceptional software.
"web application framework" - DotNetNuke is a category leader in delivering a value-added application framework optimized for the web.
"passionate developer community" - developers and designers with diverse educational and vocational backgrounds share their expert knowledge and experience through an extensive network of collaborative online community sites.
"prosperous commercial ecosystem" - based on the expansive market reach and exponential growth curve, DotNetNuke offers the ability to generate multiple scalable revenue streams.
( this is first in a series of blogs I will provide which attempts to provide some additional transparency into the management and business aspects of the DotNetNuke project )