Roll your own

Updated on February 5, 2017

Sharing is in many ways the pivotal point of the web. Whether we are talking users sharing photos or videos, sharing ideas and thoughts the idea of sharing is not new to the web. The notion of freely available knowledge is what makes many people describe the Internet as a gold mine.

There is such a thing as over sharing (read disabling all privacy features on Facebook) amongst private individuals. However, few people thought that private companies would join this sharing wave to the extent of giving away their trade secrets all in the name of the open web. Never the less that is what Backblaze did in a blogpost back in September 2009.

Backblaze is an amazing backup tool that lets you backup your computer both Mac and PC for no more than $5 a month – unlimited storage. That price point is hard to beat and I have used it ever since I lost a vast collection of images due to a dead hard drive. This however, is not a commercial for Backblaze – now lets get back on track.

What Backblaze did back in September of 2009 was nothing less than extraordinary. In a blog post they revealed how to build their custom storage devices they have created enabling them to offer the storage at such a remarkable low price point. Not only do they describe how to build the “pod”, but they also include a 3d model, complete list of items needed and a diagram.

I still have not figured out why the decided to open up like that but I came across the blog post from Digg and found out about the company through that channel. Also it projected the company as cool, open, forward thinking and with good intentions. The outcome -> I signed up.

Many other companies and individuals are doing this on a regular basis – giving away for free. At the end of the day that is what the open source movement is about.

Another example I came across recently is a small project managed by Niels Gamborg. He has created a range of name generators and has decided to give away the name generator scripts that run this site for free. What makes this stand out from general open source projects is that we are actually talking about a complete site ready to launch with minimum effort. This could easily be used for an Adsense hobby project.

Bottom line – the Internet is once again showing how we are reinventing how we do business.