Github has always been against taking money. Actually, TPW has used some very harsh words criticizing startups that choose to take VC money.
Now, Github raises 100 gazillion dollars? How the f*ck do they plan on spending that wisely? Sure, it's nice to have that sum in the bank. But, in all honesty, someone has to explain how this is a reasonable move, because I simply don't get it.
> The ironic thing about bootstrapping and venture capital is that once you demonstrate some success, investors will come to YOU. When this happens you will be in a much better place to make a more reasoned choice about taking on additional capital and all the complexities that come with it. Talking to VCs with some leverage in your back pocket is an entirely different game from throwing yourself in front of a conference table full of general partners and trying to persuade them that you're worth their time and money. Power is happiness.
Update: This post (Above for the moment) says it better.
1) Burn the ships
By committing so strongly to an anti-VC ideology, they forced themselves to focus on profitability. They required themselves to make a sustainable company without the expectations that eventually someone would expand their runway. In the process, they created a very attractive investment opportunity for the trillions of dollars out there sitting on the sidelines looking for the next big thing.
2) Everything has a price
Don't consider this a strike against the github folks, I'm sure they are strong and ethical people, but everything has its price. $100 Million is a lot of money and I'm sure it left the founders with a lot of peace-of-mind that will allow them to focus on building an IPO worthy company.
They haven't done anything immoral and no one gets hurt, rather many people may greatly benefit from this move. They changed their mind like everyone in the world does in the face of smaller sums of money than this.
Good luck Github.
"They (AH) clearly have no interest in the status quo of venture capital."
"we're excited to partner with Andreessen Horowitz to help us make it happen"
"They want to help founders build great companies."
Whether they could make a return on it would be another thing though.
Although it also seems to be more of a cultural issue. There are already pretty good tools from companies like Perforce and Alienbrain, the problem is to convince the artists that there is value in using them. Every time I've suggested it, there has been imitiate pushback and outright rejection from the artists. Even in the places I've seen that use Perforce, most artists seem to see checking in and out as a pointless chore, rather than a vital and helpful part of their workflow
In that case it really doesn't benefit them at all and is a chore. You'll only get them to use version control if it's hard mandate (good luck) or figure out a way to make it completely transparent to them (something like Time Machine).
I was kindof assuming that it would be the same for mid to smaller sized movie/tv studios as well, but at the same time I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you can get a plugin for Premier or whatever that does it.
I know for a fact that there are many largish advertising agencies out there who have fileservers with hundreds of ProjectName01, ProjectName02 etc style directories.
Why do you think apple brought "Versions" or whatever its called in with lion?
Versions (and Time Machine history) are good steps to part of this, in that they are easily available and understandable, but they don't solve the collaboration aspect. How do you diff and merge your local changes into the NEW_final_v2_UPDATED.xls that was emailed to you? I'd summarize the problems as:
- identfying & organizing versions of the same document in ways manageable by normal humans (i.e. not a set of variably-named files spanning email attachments and shared folders, nor a graph of nodes identified by 20-byte hashes, nor a rigid interface to a versioned-file server)
- diffying & merging non-text document types (images, audio, spreadsheets)
I agree this would be a valuable problem to solve well!
That doesn't mean there isn't huge room for improvement in this arena. An approach like this (or OSX's versions) doesn't allow you to do anything like 'git diff' to see what's changed from version to version. I can imagine this is a very difficult problem for binary data, however. Also, distributed version control on media production software could allow for multiple users to be editing a project simultaneously.
Unfortunately, I don't really see GitHub being able to help much here. For example, any work done to make ProTools files git-friendly wouldn't also work on Photoshop files. I'd love to be wrong about this, but I suspect seeing version control in media production software would require redesigning the application's file format from the ground up, and would be a task for each software company to do on their own.
So everyone. Or at least everyone who works in an office.
My own erstwhile field of small business accounting is all about version control. An enormous amount of energy goes into keeping tabs on which file is most current and ensuring that work isn't done in a non-current file.
Same thing for anyone who regularly collaborates on documents or spreadsheets or images: lawyers, advertisers, my friend the outdoor school counselor, journalists, etc.
The state of the art here isn't very good. For all the products out there, I'd guess 90% of actual version control happens via emails. Case in point:
A journalist friend of mine is currently attempting a small intra-office coup to switch from Email/Excel to Asana for scheduling and managing the editing process. It is not going well. Email/Excel will probably win.
But the old people won't be around forever. The opportunities to improve on the state of the art are vast. The amount of energy people spend on keeping current could be dramatically reduced.
Github has plenty of potential.
Getting these people to use github would be awesome!