A Venture Capitalist’s Read On Themes From Davos: Open Source And Observability

February 05, 2019
Peter High
BY Peter High Founder and President of Metis Strategy
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The World Economic Forum recently concluded in Davos, Switzerland. As one scans the highlights from across the sessions, whether conversations with industry titans or presentations by government dignitaries, technology was focal.

For the second year in a row, I asked Jacob Jofe, a Vice President at Index Ventures where he focuses on the firm’s enterprise investments, to provide some thoughts on themes he found particularly poignant. He highlights two areas that have now become CEO-level topics of conversation: the rise of open source software, and the importance of observability.

Peter High: Jacob, you mentioned open source software was one of the most talked about topics at the World Economic Forum. Please explain what that was.

Jacob Jofe: At its heart, its all about people. The best developers want to use the best technology, and today, the best technology is open source. So, its adoption has become central to attracting and retaining the best engineering talent. Conversely, denying access to open source has become a serious roadblock to hiring the best talent. One of the reasons for this is, some of today’s most interesting technology is developed at companies with scarce expertise, which is then contributed to the open source domain. Example include the Tensorflow and Kubernetes projects from Google, and the Kafka project which originated at LinkedIn. Developers want to take advantage of this, which I think is a win-win for everyone. It used to be that a technology decision was buy versus build — its now download versus buy versus build.

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