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Cool Company
Monday, May 02, 2005
Today I visited a very cool company. What's cool?

For one thing, they've escaped the confines of the city. O'Reilly is located on North Gravenstein Highway just outside of Sebastopol, a fast hour's drive from San Francisco. Their clapboard headquarters sits in the front of an old apple orchard.

For another, they have values. The Open Source ethic of individualism, building one thing on top of another, and intellectual generosity comes with the package. It's a company but it's also a movement. O'Reilly was instrumental in christening Open Source (which was previously called "Free Software.")

O'Reilly is also consistent in what they do. They learn from innovators and help them tell their stories. Initially, this wasn't by choice. Tim O'Reilly majored in Classics; co-founder Dale Dougherty was an English major. They began with a technical writing service in Cambridge. They had to learn a topic before they could write about it. Then they would describe their learning process. That's a different story than you'd hear from a so-called expert.


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