Open source at our heart

In 2011 Marc Andreessen – an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer – wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal called “Why Software Is Eating The World”.
In that article, Andreessen explained how more and more major businesses and industries are being run on software, and delivered as online services. Many of the winners of today’s economy are Silicon Valley-style technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures.

Today the world’s largest bookseller, the largest video service and one of the dominant music platforms are all software companies: Amazon, Netflix and Spotify.
Photography, movies, telecoms, recruiting, automotive, retail, health, education, financial services and even national defence are increasingly software-based.
The “software revolution” as described by Andreessen is now a reality, here to stay.

A 2014 research by Fabernovel – a global consulting agency with headquarters in Paris – gives a rapid understanding of how Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA) – the most powerful software companies of our time – drive and manage innovation.
In the traditional economic model, companies invest time and money in developing products, marketing them, and then defeating them against competition. Opposed to that, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are customer-obsessed: they compete to win customer’s attention, providing value – not products – to the customers.

Many years before GAFA, Gandhi explored the idea of an economic model with customers at the center. In an essay about his political vision he wrote: “life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom, but an oceanic circle whose center will be the individual.”
The individual is the absolute center of the GAFAnomics model: all GAFA decisions are primarily focused on gaining and retaining individuals. Everyone is a customer, even without money.
Think about Facebook: no one pays to use it… but do you really think we are not Facebook customers?
If you are not paying you are the product.

The “dark side” of this fascinating economic model is related to our lives: almost every action we take depends on GAFA.
Today we read, learn, listen to music, take photos, communicate and buy stuff online through GAFA. Tomorrow we will pay, drive, access the Internet and manage our smart homes through GAFA again.

At Enter we use Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to build things and deliver them faster to our customers.
We love GAFA, their products and their economic model. However, we know that we cannot be dependent on these guys for our vital needs.

Talking about his idea of a village, Gandhi wrote that “a village is a complete republic, independent of its neighbours for its wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity”.
Following this inspirational concept, we designed our company to be a village, a complete republic that is interdependent on GAFA, but stays independent from them thanks to open source and the collaborative commons.

Open source is not about software: it’s about culture.
Linux, Wikipedia, Arduino have taught everyone that there is an alternative to the GAFA oceanic circle: a new, sustainable model where companies give access to their knowledge, assets and production tools, enabling collaboration between individuals and pushing them to become creators and contributors.

Open source is eating the world much faster than other non-open systems.
Since we chose OpenStack as our software platform for cloud computing, we learned that connecting people to each other is the best way to generate ideas, build meaningful projects, create value.

In 2013 we started sharing our main office and created Login, the largest tech coworking space in Milan. In 2014 we invested in a makerspace dedicated to 3D printing, Arduino and wearable technologies, and we co-founded a crowdfunding company. Later we joined the Open Compute project and we designed our open idea of a new, sustainable datacenter.

Open source is our driver for change, something that is related to our basic human rights and allows us to be interdependent – and not dependent on any established system.
Thanks to open source we won the European commission call for tenders “DIGIT Cloud I” and, together with the Cloud Team Alliance, we are one of the official cloud service providers for the EU. Thanks to open source even we, a small Italian internet and cloud provider, can compete with big global corporations like Amazon, BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos.

Today our company is an ecosystem of basic infrastructure services – network, datacenter, cloud, workspace, energy, logistics and production – that we serve to people to build stuff together and change things.

This means that changing things is up to you.
To you inventors, makers, artists, pioneers, entrepreneurs and companies that lead innovation. You are part of the revolution. You look at the world with new eyes and this is how you’re changing it.
So keep on working.
Don’t give up.
Change things.


Ivan Botta
CEO at Enter