I was asked by Black Duck Software to contribute this article to the Open Source Delivers portal focusing on Open Source in 2014.
Open source users benefit not only from free software, but the ability to customize solutions to your needs for added agility in your IT infrastructure. If IT is a differentiator in your business, then you should approach your participation in a way that allows you to share the load of non-differentiating features with a broader group, while still keeping your differentiating secret sauce closer-to-the-vest. Don’t be divisive, thinking of Tom Sawyer-like ploys to get someone to paint your fence are the rare and shortsighted. You won’t get far trying to get people to do things that only benefit you; you’re better off to follow the strategy of John Nash (see the scene in a Beautiful Mind where the grad students try to meet young ladies). If everyone involved in an open source project does not only what’s best for themselves but what is good for the group, then you can create a situation where everyone benefits. This is called governing dynamics, and when that exists you can gain exceptional leverage from open source.
Read the whole article on Open Source Delivers.