Ten Years of University Teaching

My research and teaching group just celebrated its tenth anniversary, and I wanted to take some time to reflect on our teaching: What worked and what didn’t.

Principles

When I started as a university professor ten years ago, I drew on my experience as a student, as a teacher, as a practitioner, and as an entrepreneur, to define the basic principles of how I wanted to teach:

  1. Theory and practice should be joined at the hip; there should only be minimal delay, if any, between hearing some concept and applying it in practice
  2. Learning requires repetition and practice, so the theory and practice of something to learn needs to be drawn out over several iterations to become effective
  3. Learning is a marathon, not a sprint; therefore, learning and using the stick (grading) to direct learning should be continuous and not a fire-and-forget exercise
  4. Feedback needs to be immediate and connected to a student’s actual doing, and not come at the end of a semester or later
  5. Learning is holistic; while some concepts can be isolated, more often than not, concepts interact and require a realistic setting to be learned
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Single-Vendor Open Source Firms and Intellectual Property Strategies (Video)

In this video, I explain the single-vendor open source business model (also: multi-licensing, open core) and in particular its intellectual property strategies. This talk is partly a reaction to the recent licensing changes by commercial open source firms and the resulting confusion. An upcoming article will go into more detail next year.

Next to the Youtube embed, there is also an ad-free version courtesy of FAU, my main employer, as well as a simple download available.

The First Derivative of Software is Eating the World

Marc Andreesen, venture capitalist at a16z, famously stated in 2011:

Software is eating the world

Wall Street Journal, 2011-08-11

Andreesen’s article describes the immediate impact of software, both as its own product category and as a component of increasing importance in existing (non-software) products.

I want to discuss what I consider the first derivative of Andreesen’s insight, the increase in innovation speed provided by software, and its impact on existing products.

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Anecdotal Experience with Public Startup Funding in Germany

Sweble, now EDITIVE, is a research project that I started in 2009 with the goal of helping Wikipedia. It is now a startup that is bringing GitHub-style collaboration to office documents (pitch). To that end, we acquired 720K Euro of seed funding from Germany’s EXIST Forschungstransfer (in German) startup fund. This is free money, as it is a gift and no equity is lost. However, with that, the trouble started.

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If Open Data is Like Open Source (20 Years Ago) 5/5: Inner Data

In five posts, I want to speculate about the next twenty years of open data based on the past twenty years of open source. The idea is to transfer what we learned from open source in one way or another to open data.

This is part 5 on inner data, that is, the collaborative creation and sharing of data within one company.

If this sounds easy, please meet the “modern” corporation with internal competition, phlegmatism and personal antipathy, all of which ensure the corporate silo structure.

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