What a decade taught Larry Augustin

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.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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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."

Topic: Open Source

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  • I remember when...

    I remember when Larry and crew were just getting started and struggling. I remember when Sam (I release a press release for everything I do) Ockman decided he could do it better.

    I remember when I lost a bundle because I believed in Larry and VA Research and didn't dump my stock.

    I also remember when installing Linux meant lots of time with archie and gopher and connections to funet.fi via uucp links.

    I remember SLS, UMSDOS, TSX11 and TAMU Linux. I remember Yggdrasil (and even what it was). I remember when Linus answered his own emails and would be pleased to argue points.

    I know Larry Augustin is a well balanced and intelligent member of any team, open source or otherwise.
    Timpraetor
  • Open source?

    It's hard enough to get 10 developers in one room to code well together, but developers all over the world-- that just stinks. When you look at massive open source projects' code you see what looks like its been touched by thousands of hands: a bowl of spaghetti.
    kckn4fun
    • Closed source?

      When you look at massive closed source projects' code, what does it look like?
      Badge3832
  • Congratulations Larry!

    You deserve it!
    fidelman
  • RE: What a decade taught Larry Augustin

    He won a pennant, got fired, got kicked around. He got a few gigs, did some broadcasting, advised a few people here and there.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="white"> k</font></a>
    zakkiromi