Steve Arnold’s recent posts — about the announcement of In-Q-Tel’s investment in Lucid Imagination, and about the two meetups we sponsored in Washington DC and San Francisco — highlight how the virtuous cycle of open source is picking up momentum nicely.  In citing Steve’s post, CNET’s Dave Rosenberg echoes Steve Arnold’s point about the government is stepping up to prod the market along.

Herein lies the virtuous cycle: the meetup unlocks grass roots collaboration and innovation, and lowers the barriers to entry: when there’s a meetup in the neighborhood (and we hope to sponsor some more over the next few months), developers can get together directly with others who are learning Lucene/Solr, as well as those who have accumulated expertise, to increase their own. That sows the seeds of new innovation downstream.

That expertise proves especially important for a heterogeneity-busting technology like search. It’s easy to get the technology, and get started. But there’s a big distance between getting the technology and getting it right. Our business model is premised on delivering that expertise — through services and certified distributions — in predictable, reliable fashion.

Businesses generally need to reduce heterogeneity, because profitability comes from operational efficiencies — the more different moving parts they have to deal with, the costlier it is to get business done. But there are opportunities to help innovation get a little more efficient, too — there’s learning you can get face-to-face, hence our sponsorship of meetups. We’ve put search to work for adding a few efficiencies to community innovation too, with our developer search portal at search.lucidimagination.com — the easiest, fastest place to find what has already been discussed about Lucene stack projects all in one place.