Was reading an article on TheStreet.com about Why Wall Street Hates Open Source.  I think one of the things that business people often don’t know about is the talent advantage open source companies have.  Answer this question:  What are our hiring practices?  How do we hire people?

We know they can do the job

Most of the developers that come to the JBoss division of Red Hat were/are contributors to at least one of our open source projects.   Think about that for a second…Before we start paying somebody a dime, we’ve worked with our potential new employees months, sometimes years at a time.  We know what they are capable of.  We know the quality of their work.

We can hire anybody anywhere

The world is our labor market.  We can hire anybody anywhere without having to move them because we already have distributed development model.  A development model that our employee has already participated in.

Our developers have initiative and are self-motivated

Open source developers are uncommon.  Why?  It takes initiative, and lots of it.  You have to have the gumption to download the code and figure out how to build it.  Then you have to have the skills to be able to understand and dive into somebody else’s code so you can add your pet feature or fix a bug that is holding you up.  You have to go beyond the scope of your job description and learn something new.  When we hire a contributor, we know we have somebody that isn’t afraid to take initiative and drive things on their own.

Our developers already know our products

In my experience, the vast majority of our contributors are actually users of our products.  They’ve come to help, because they are missing a feature or bug that hinders the progress of the work they are being paid to do.  They know our products, but more importantly, they know what’s wrong with our products and what they don’t like about our products.

Our developers enjoy what they do

Core contributors often contribute during their free time.  People aren’t willing to give up free time if they don’t a) enjoy what they are doing, b) don’t like our products.

Our developers are part of a movement

Richard Stallman aside, open source is not socialism, yet it is a movement.  A movement most developers are proud to be part of.

Anyways, this is one of the many reasons I think Red Hat is built to last.