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Joining OSS Capital as Entrepreneur in Residence

Written by Kevin Xu on Aug 19, 2019

A bear on a unicycle

I’m excited to share some news today: I’m joining OSS Capital as its first Entrepreneur in Residence, helping to build out this promising investment firm and knowledge platform, as it takes part in the potentially massive growth of COSS — Commercial Open-Source Software.

Joining the ranks of OSS Capital was a natural decision after crossing paths a few times with its founder, Joseph Jacks, and feeling his infectious energy and deep commitment to the future of COSS. The team of expert partners and advisors he has assembled is also jaw-droppingly impressive and humbling. I’m honored to have this chance to work with and learn from them all.

Thinking back to my first few computer science classes at Brown, and then a decade later in life at Stanford, I had known how integral open source software was to technical education and training. What I didn’t appreciate until later is how “open source” is also an industry, a category of investment, a worldview, a way of life, and a movement.

I hope my relative ignorance can generate some fresh perspective to this movement, by applying my eclectic set of skills in company building, community organizing, strategic communications, podcasting, law, hiring, product development, etc. My two immediate focus will be to expand the knowledge platform that’s already taking shape at OSS Capital and do deep research into what makes an OSS project “healthy” — something I’ve written about previously.

(If my eclecticism looks confusing, don’t worry, you are not alone; it used to confuse me too! But as our modern day tech Yoda, Naval Ravikant, likes to put it “a bear on a unicycle” is the most interesting and “all humans are broad”. Think of me as that bear for now, keeping things interesting.)

Lastly, I want to express gratitude to PingCAP, my previous employer and a classic COSS company. It was a privilege working with the highly-skilled technical team there, to expand the global reach and product offerings of TiDB (now a 20k+ star project on GitHub) and TiKV (now a CNCF Incubating-level project). Building out the global team of PingCAP from scratch was an exhilarating experience and taught me invaluable lessons. When I first joined PingCAP, I saw the global potential of COSS companies. That future is very much alive.

If you’d like to get to know each other, work together, and trade notes, please reach out. My DM on Twitter and LinkedIn is always open.

Alright, enough sentimentality. Lots to do ahead. As I often like to echo my favorite fictional president Jed Bartlett when beginning a new chapter, “What’s next?”


Joining OSS Capital as Entrepreneur in Residence was originally published in Open Consensus on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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