Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Good morning.

  • Thank you.

  • So, many of you may not recognize this person on the screen.

  • He lives here in Portland, Oregon.

  • He was named the 17th most influential person of the century by Time magazine.

  • This is Linus Torvalds, and if you've never heard of him,

  • you've probably heard of the software he created.

  • Linus Torvalds created Linux, the world's most successful software.

  • It runs everything. I'm not kidding.

  • It's in your phone, it's in a car,

  • it's in your television, it runs your bank,

  • it runs most of the global economy, it runs air-traffic control systems,

  • nuclear submarines, it runs most of the Internet.

  • You use Linux every single day,

  • multiple times a day, and you don't even know it.

  • So if you're in the tech industry, you for sure have heard of Linus Torvalds

  • and almost none of you have ever heard of me.

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm Linus Torvalds's boss!

  • (Laughter)

  • I know what you're thinking.

  • Wow, this guy is the boss

  • of one of the 17 most influential guys of the century,

  • wrote the world's most prolific software.

  • Who else works for this guy. The person who created the Internet?

  • So first of all, no, Al Gore does not work for me.

  • (Laughter)

  • But let me show you a couple of others who do.

  • These two. Especially that little girl there.

  • That's my daughter. My 4½-year-old daughter, Nisha.

  • And what's funny is Nisha actually shares a lot in common with Linus Torvalds.

  • (Laughter)

  • No it's true, it's true.

  • First of all, they're both adorable.

  • (Laughter)

  • Second, they're both geniuses.

  • (Laughter)

  • And finally, neither of them listens to anything that I say.

  • (Laughter)

  • In other words, I'm nobody's boss.

  • But fortunately, Linus Torvalds doesn't really need a boss.

  • He's got this great mascot, this penguin.

  • And Linux really has done very successfully despite me.

  • And let me show you a few numbers,

  • just to give you an idea of what this looks like.

  • 1.3 million smart phones running Linux

  • are activated every single day.

  • 700,000 televisions are sold every single day running Linux.

  • 92% of the world's high-performance computing systems

  • that predict climate change, forecast the weather,

  • run the CERN supercollider, are all running Linux.

  • 85% of the world's global equity trading platforms run Linux.

  • The New York Stock Exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange,

  • the London Stock Exchange,

  • most of our economy runs on Linux.

  • 1000 trillion dollars is the amount of transactions

  • that happen on just one Linux system, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

  • It runs Google, Facebook, Amazon, most of the Internet;

  • it is by far the world's most widely deployed software.

  • So, how does Linus do it? And why should you care, for that matter?

  • Well, he does it collaboratively,

  • by working with thousands of developers,

  • all across the world, in different countries,

  • performing a grand act of creation.

  • And I'm just a bit player in this grand play

  • that's been unfolding over the last 20 years.

  • But as a witness to all of this, and technically as Linus's boss,

  • I've learned some lessons that I'd like to share with you today,

  • so that you might become better collaborators,

  • so that you might achieve the same success

  • as someone like Linus and something like Linux.

  • And some of these lessons may surprise you.

  • The first lesson I learned: don't dream big, don't dream big.

  • This is an email from Linus Torvalds over 20 years ago,

  • announcing the creation of Linux.

  • "I'm not doing anything big, just something for fun."

  • (Laughter)

  • And what's interesting here, whether it was intentional or not,

  • Linus was paraphrasing a poet, Robert Frost, who said,

  • "Don't aim for success, if that's what you want.

  • Do what you love and believe in and it will follow."

  • And I think it's appropriate that Linus was paraphrasing a poem,

  • because what's happening behind thousands of computer screens

  • all over the world is a renaissance.

  • The Michelangelos and the da Vincis and the Raphaels of their day

  • are creating great poetry.

  • And they're doing it because they love it.

  • Linus felt so strongly about this that he wrote an entire book on it.

  • And he titled it "Just for Fun."

  • Because when you're doing this kind of grand creation and collaboration,

  • when you're doing it because you love it and you believe in it,

  • you can create great things.

  • And let me tell you,

  • there is a difference between a house-painter and da Vinci.

  • And the grand code poets who are writing this

  • truly believe in what they're doing.

  • It is making a huge difference throughout the world.

  • And because they believe in it so much, they don't care about lesson 2,

  • which is: give it all away. Give it away.

  • You see, Linux is open source.

  • Anybody can take and use it completely for free.

  • You don't have to ask permission, you can just take Linux,

  • grab it, build anything you want.

  • In fact the only thing you have to do is if you make changes to Linux,

  • and improve it, you have to share those changes with everybody else.

  • And when I tell people this, they think, "You guys are idiots."

  • You should have seen the crest-fallen look on my wife's face on our first date

  • when I told her I worked in a non-profit.

  • (Laughter)

  • Nobody can make any money giving things away, right?

  • Well, that's not true, and I'm going to prove it to you.

  • What if I showed you 3 companies:

  • one based entirely on free and open-source software,

  • one based partially on free and open-source software,

  • and one that's completely based on closed software,

  • they don't give anything away, they sell it.

  • What do you think the results from those companies would look like?

  • Well, here's what it would look like.

  • This is a chart showing Red Hat, IBM and Microsoft's results

  • for the last 5 years.

  • And at the top, Red Hat,

  • a software company that gives away free software,

  • that bases their entire company on free software self-service and support,

  • has gone up almost 200% in the last 5 years.

  • IBM, which all of you have heard of, it might surprise you to know

  • they sell billions of dollars of hardware

  • which contain almost entirely free software.

  • And Microsoft at the bottom sells closed software

  • that they create by themselves and sell for a price,

  • in the last half-decade they have returned almost no shareholder value.

  • So when I tell people this, they say, "OK, Jim, that makes sense, we get it,

  • but there's just one hole we can put into your argument.

  • I mean it makes sense, Red Hat's doing well,

  • this is a movement that we think is the future,

  • but what about Apple?"

  • (Laughter)

  • You think you all got me, right?

  • (Laughter)

  • How many people here have an iPhone?

  • Alright. I want you to do something with me.

  • Take it out, go into the Settings,

  • go into General, About and Legal Notices.

  • And you're going to see something interesting in there.

  • Inside of every iPhone, every iPad, there is free software.

  • You'll see the GNU public license from the Free Software Foundation,

  • you will see the names of prominent open-source developers,

  • you will see oodles and oodles of free software,

  • because Apple knows something that many people don't,

  • but that I'm showing you today.

  • Which is when you stand on the shoulders of giants,

  • when you use free software and take part in this grand collaboration,

  • you can innovate at ever higher levels.

  • And that's what Apple does and it's pretty smart.

  • So if anybody tells you you can't make money

  • by giving things away, you tell them they are wrong.

  • And then tell them about my next lesson.

  • The best way to get something done is not to have a plan.

  • (Laughter)

  • Don't have a plan.

  • The plan for Linux is there is no plan. Right?

  • Well, it seems counter-intuitive,

  • but you're not seeing the power of self-forming communities.

  • When you collaborate, you want people to create things organically.

  • And that's what happens within Linux.

  • Organically, communities come together to solve their problems

  • that if Linus Torvalds or me or anybody had tried to plan out,

  • they would never have thought of.

  • That's why Linux runs on a small hand-held phone

  • and also powers the world's largest supercomputers at the same time.

  • And what happens here

  • is an incredible cross-pollination of ideas,

  • where the person trying to save on battery life in a phone

  • by controlling the amount of power Linux uses

  • helps the guy running the world's biggest computer,

  • because the number one cost is not the hardware,

  • it's not the software, it's the power in cooling.

  • So by creating these self-forming communities,

  • they're exchanging these ideas incredibly, adding all this incredible value

  • and producing at a pace that's unprecedented.

  • And let me just show you how unprecedented that pace is.

  • 10519, 6782.

  • That's the number of lines of code added to and subtracted from Linux

  • every single day.

  • A million lines of code were added to Linux just in the last year.

  • Homer's epic "Iliad": 15000 lines.

  • "War and Peace": about 450000 words.

  • Every single hour of every single day, 7 changes happen in Linux.

  • It is unprecedented and has resulted in over 10 billion dollars of value creation

  • over the last 20 years.

  • The most successful collaborative development project

  • in the history of computing.

  • 407 companies, thousands of individuals coming together in harmony.

  • And speaking of harmony, that leads me to the next lesson, which is:

  • If you're working that fast, and with that many people

  • across this many cultures,

  • you'd think you'd have to be good at collaborating. Right?

  • And you'd think you'd have to be a pretty nice person

  • to get along with all of these people from different backgrounds.

  • Well, you would be wrong. You don't always have to be nice.

  • In fact, Linus Torvalds, sometimes he's not so nice!

  • (Laughter)

  • Did I mention he doesn't listen to anything I have to say?

  • But what Linus is doing here, is he's engaging in a flame war.

  • Flame wars are how coders often communicate.

  • They criticize each other, they defend their ideas,

  • they ridicule code.

  • In this world, code talks and BS walks. Right?

  • And you'd think this would be a bad way to create software.

  • Yelling at each other all the time, these guys are pretty mean.

  • Well, it's interesting, in 2003,

  • University of California, Berkeley, did a study about how ideas are created,

  • how you can create the best ideas.

  • They took a bunch of people and they put them into groups.

  • One group was given traditional brainstorming instructions.

  • No idea's a bad idea, don't criticize, all of that.

  • How many people here have brainstormed? Right. Of course.

  • Another group was given the instructions:

  • "Debate, rigorously defend your ideas."

  • And guess what.

  • The debate group didn't just do better, they crushed it.

  • They came up with an order of magnitude better ideas.

  • And so what does all of this mean?

  • How can you not dream big, give it away,

  • not have have a plan and be a jerk and get anything done collaboratively?

  • Maybe Linus Torvalds can get away with it.

  • But other people are catching onto this too.

  • And this is really the future of collaboration.

  • And I'm going to show you that by asking you a a quick question.

  • Who do you think said the following statements?

  • Code wins arguments.

  • The best idea and implementation should always win.

  • The hacker way is an approach to building

  • that involves continuous improvement and iteration.

  • Hackers believe that something can always be better

  • and that nothing is ever complete.

  • (Speaker: Laughter)

  • Sounds like something Linus Torvalds would say, right?

  • In fact, he's said things like this over and over again over the last 20 years.

  • But he didn't say it.

  • Mark Zuckerberg said this.

  • And what's more important than the fact that Mark Zuckerberg said it,

  • is when he said it.

  • Mark Zuckerberg said this on the eve of Facebook's IPO.

  • This guy was about to become a multi-billionaire.

  • And on the eve of the most anticipated financial event of the last decade, INTAC,

  • he didn't talk about price-earnings ratio or profitability.

  • Instead he wrote a letter titled:

  • "The Hacker Way: Code wins arguments, may the best idea and implementation win."

  • Because Mark Zuckerberg didn't have to be taught these lessons,

  • they were instinct.

  • When he created Facebook, he grabbed Linux,

  • he grabbed free software, and he created the world's largest social network.

  • And he was following a form of collaboration

  • that has introduced an entirely new genre