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Going from open source maintainer to running a business: 7 lessons

· 10 min read
Jens Langhammer
CTO at Authentik Security Inc

authentik is an open source Identity Provider that unifies your identity needs into a single platform, replacing Okta, Active Directory, and auth0. Authentik Security is a public benefit company building on top of the open source project.

Since November 2022, authentik has gone from an open source project with one maintainer writing most of the code (me), to having a real business built on top of it—with six full-time team members across the globe. We celebrated the company’s first birthday last year, but I wanted to share some personal reflections from my own journey from maintainer to CTO.

What’s worked

Standardizing and templatizing (on some things)

One of the advantages of a greenfield environment is being able to choose my own constellation of tools and workflows to make things as easy and efficient as possible.

You might think that standardizing of any sort is the remit of scale-ups and big corporations with compliance requirements, but the business efficiency and simplicity that comes with it is also a huge bonus for lean startups.