What a decade taught Larry Augustin

Summary:Larry Augustin's story is proof that second acts in business are possible. Most of those who boomed during the dot-boom were never heard from after the dot-bomb. But not Larry.

At 46, Larry Augustin is much too young to be the grand old man of anything.

But he is one of the grand old figures of open source. He was in the group that coined the term back in the late 1990s.

Larry was Sourceforge, he was VA Linux, back during the dot-boom 10 years ago. He rode the stock to $240/share, then watched it plummet to nearly nothing in the dot-bomb.

Once had had a Web site, made it run. Made it race against time. Once he had a Web site, now it's done, buddy can you spare a dime?

But Larry kept his hand in. He became an angel investor and adviser, a "go-to" guy for any open source start-up looking for some street cred. His current bio has him on 9 different corporate boards, topping the list of the most influential people in open source a few months ago. (Our own Matt Asay was number two.)

The news today is that Larry is the permanent CEO of SugarCRM. Appointed on an interim basis in May to replace co-founder John Roberts, he has pointed the software into the cloud, adding a business model to its large community.

What has he learned in that time?

  • Influence is not a contest among bloggers. Augustin's last blog post is dated July.
  • Companies grow through teams. The next negative word about SugarCRM's people I hear from Larry will be the first.
  • The future of open source is in SaaS, in the cloud.

Larry Augustin's story is proof that second acts in business are possible. Most of those who boomed during the dot-boom were never heard from after the dot-bomb. But not Larry.

His story reminds me of the man who was managing my Atlanta Braves when I first moved here in the early 1980s. He won a pennant, got fired, got kicked around. He got a few gigs, did some broadcasting, advised a few people here and there.

Then he got another shot, in New York, and he took it. His second chance made Joe Torre a sure Hall of Famer.

I can't guarantee Larry Augustin the same success, but after a decade in the wilderness he has a team again. Hard for me not to root for the "old guy."

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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