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How digital agencies can invest in open-source products without going broke or insane

Project: GLAMkit

Compared to single-project software teams, digital agencies face the challenges of having to balance limited capacity amongst competing clients and projects, which makes it difficult to find time between the billable hours to invest.

However, agencies also have a whole lot to gain from building reusable code - chiefly scalability. If an agency's reusable code can become a product that offers value to clients, then agencies can move beyond hourly-rate pricing towards value-based pricing.

But creating products is expensive and risky, and open-sourcing products is even more so, until the benefits start accumulating.

This talk covers learnings from our 7 years as a Python/Django web agency, moving from using open source to contributing and creating it; what guides our investment decisions, and why some decisions worked and some didn't, and how our philosophy has shifted as a result.

Greg Turner

Dr Greg Turner is CEO of the Interaction Consortium, a web agency in Sydney and Melbourne. The IC builds content tools and digital platforms in Python, and makes GLAMkit, an open-source CMS for the cultural sector. Last year, the Interaction Consortium went to the USA to build the website and systems integrations for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.