[A version of this article appears on the O’Reilly Radar.]
The O’Reilly Data Show podcast: Evangelos Simoudis on data mining, investing in data startups, and corporate innovation.
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Can developments in data science and big data infrastructure drive corporate innovation? To be fair, many companies are still in the early stages of incorporating these ideas and tools into their organizations.
Evangelos Simoudis has spent many years interacting with entrepreneurs and executives at major global corporations. Most recently, he’s been advising companies interested in developing long-term strategies pertaining to big data, data science, cloud computing, and innovation. He began his career as a data mining researcher and practitioner, and is counted among the pioneers who helped data mining technologies get adopted in industry.
In this episode of the O’Reilly Data Show, I sat down with Simoudis and we talked about his thoughts on investing, data applications and products, and corporate innovation:
Open source software companies
I very much appreciate open source. I encourage my portfolio companies to use open source components as appropriate, but I’ve never seen the business model as being one that is particularly easy to really build the companies around them. Everybody points to Red Hat, and that may be the exception, but I have not seen companies that have, on the one hand, remained true to the open source principles and become big and successful companies that do not require constant investment. … The revenue streams never prove to be sufficient for building big companies. I think the companies that get started from open source in order to become big and successful … [are] ones that, at some point, decided to become far more proprietary in their model and in the services that they deliver. Or they become pure professional services companies as opposed to support services companies. Then they reach the necessary levels of success.