Hopefully one or more open source businesses will be among the standout successes of early 21st century capitalism. However, it’s interesting to look back at one of the standout successes of late 20th century capitalism for an instructive example of one of the unusual challenges facing open source businesses.
Wal-Mart’s history is well known. The first Wal-Mart opened in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. Five years later there were 24 stores across Arkansas. In 1968, Wal-Mart opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Missouri and Oklahoma. Both those states, of course, neighbour Arkansas. Wal-Mart’s expansion thereafter continued to be in concentric circles around its home base, enabling logistical and cultural challenges to be overcome gradually and execution to continue to be highly efficient. Despite enormous success in Wal-Mart’s home market, wider geographical expansion has not always proven successful–as in Germany.