Competition vs Open Source

Why we should share ideas and stop worrying about intellectual property…

As a result of the credit crunch and austerity period, we’ve ended up with a Tory Government. The Tories see the way out of the crunch is business and innovation, to kickstart Britain’s economy and no sector has more potential right now than the Tech sector.

With entrepreneurs and developers such as Mark Zuckerberg being lauded as the rockstars of their generation there a plenty of role models to look up to. But in a fierce world of patents and copyright, our innovation is being harmed. Coming up with ideas are talked about like discovering gold mines and it’s this greed for ‘the big break’ that is leading to a faltering rebound to the economy.

Learning code is as trendy as learning an instrument right now and it’s getting some massive backing. Just look at the Code.org promo film, littered with names from Gates to Zuckerberg. Even Will I Am is getting in on the act. But learning to code is just one step.

Coding and web development has blossomed from a culture of open source and sharing. But those values could so easily be lost. If web regulations and laws are passed, the exponential growth of tech will get marginalised to only the rich.

The greed for wealth and tech sector stardom is holding people back. How many times have you heard someone talk about ‘an idea’ they are working on, but they can’t tell you about it because it’s so top secret. That’s bullshit. That’s just plain wrong. If you have an idea, you should be telling everyone about it. If you tell everyone, then they can’t steal it, it’s too obvious if they do.

Even if someone does nick your idea and make it a success, if it’s made the world a better place then you should be happy they got it going faster than you could. If you’re frustrated because they made loads of money on it, then it was a greedy idea anyway, shame on you! Take the experience and channel it into the next idea, maybe next time you’ll get on with it and get your idea out there faster.

Ultimately, you’re getting free advice and opinions from everyone you tell. I’m not saying publish all your notes online, but at least speak to your friends, family and colleagues. Anyone could give you that outside viewpoint that could tweak your idea and make it great rather than just good.

That’s the underlying philosophy of the tech sector — sharing. It’s actually a surprisingly social occupation. Group hackathons are becoming more and more frequent, an under-pinning strategy used by Facebook from the outset. Offices like Google are supposedly the most open, friendly, cheerful working environments of any offices in the world. This year Yahoo banned people from working at home because the best ideas come ‘at the water cooler’.

Tech is inherently social so let’s keep it that way. Share and comment your code. Blog your thoughts. Tweet your opinions. And we can all make this world great together. Greedy bastards need not apply.