Tim built a successful business and has had a big impact on our industry, but looking back at his career, it’s also clear to him how often he’s failed, and what some of the things are that kept him, his employees, and the company from achieving its full potential. Some of these were failures of vision, some of them were failures of nerve, but most of them were failures in building and cultivating the company culture. It is easy to focus on customers and product, and product-market fit, and to forget that if you’re building for the long haul, the company itself, and the people in it, must be your most important focus. A company is a tool for doing things bigger than any one individual can accomplish; leadership means not just providing vision and direction, but shaping the culture and the team that can execute that vision.
Tim has a history of convening conversations that reshape the industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on, and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot com bust, but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his “Gov 2.0 Summit,” he framed a conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the Federal, State, and local level, and around the world. He has now turned his attention to implications of the on-demand economy and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the business world. He is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). He is also a founder and board member at Maker Media, which spun out of O’Reilly Media in 2012, and a board member at Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox.
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