TED Conversations

James van der Walt

Social Entrepreneur, Ugesi Gold

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What makes for a fun business?

I've just started my open-source project and I realise it's harder than it looks.

After watching Steve Keil's talk about making a business fun I realized just how pivotal it is to an open-source project. Good intentions aren't enough. You might have the best idea or promise the most profound impact and it won't matter, people will not take notice if it's not interesting or fun.

Nothing is for free. We might not want payment but then we want something else. Enjoyment.

So what makes for an interesting open-source project? How do you get people to take note of a social idea? What would make you stop and give your time to a project?

Here are some ideas I've received so far:
1) Offer prized for the best ideas i.e. material compensation.
2) A leader board to appeal to people's egos. Just show who is the smartest and can solve the problem the best i.e. credit and a sense of community
3) Compassion. Show how much this can help the world.

I would love to hear your ideas.


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    Dec 2 2011: James,

    Great question! I submit that business is fun when the people involved are jazzed about being there...when you can wake up in the morning and be excited about going to work, that attitude will permeate the workplace. In order for that to happen, people have to a)be passionate about what they do b) feel that they are useful - that their ideas and contributions are valued and c) feel they are properly rewarded. Good leadership sets the tone for that.

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      Dec 2 2011: The thing with open-source there is now leadership. There's the owner of the project but he can't demand anything from people. The only reason people give their free time is because they're having fun or they are passionate about the projects goals.
      I agree that people's ideas valued else they'll stop enjoying it and stop working. Also if they start calling it work they will stop as well.

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