Laurent put some time aside to speak to us about his journey, his projects and what is coming in the future.
You have founded and grown multiple FOSS and SaaS projects. Can you tell us a bit about how it all started and your journey to where you are now?
My journey in the world of open source and software entrepreneurship began with a passion for creating solutions that could make a positive impact.
It all started with my project AWStats in 1998, a powerful website analytics tool, which I developed to provide website owners with valuable insights.
This experience ignited my interest in creating software that can help people, and I soon ventured into other projects.
Dolibarr, my second notable projects, emerged as a response to the need for a versatile ERP and CRM solution that could serve businesses of all sizes.
I wanted to provide a comprehensive yet user-friendly platform that simplifies various aspects of business management, from finances to customer relationships.
The need for a Dolibarr as a SaaS solution led me to continue exploring the potential of open source software and to the launch of Sell-Your-SaaS, aimed at helping others create their own SaaS businesses.
Your most popular project at the moment is Dolibarr. What sets it apart from other ERP & CRM solutions?
Dolibarr is a web ERP and CRM software that offers businesses a unified platform to manage their operations efficiently.
What sets Dolibarr apart is its user-friendly design, making it accessible to both small and medium-sized businesses. It covers a wide range of functionalities, including invoicing, inventory management, project management, contact management, stock, human resources features. In fact, all the need a company have.
One of the key benefits of Dolibarr is its modular architecture, allowing users to customize the software to fit their specific needs.
Businesses can easily enable or disable modules based on their requirements, ensuring they only use what’s relevant to them.
Additionally, Dolibarr’s open source nature means that users have full control over the software, with the ability to modify and extend it according to their unique workflows.
How easy is it for the user to customise the package to their requirements and what are the hosting requirements?
Customizing Dolibarr to match specific requirements is a straightforward process, thanks to its modular structure.
Users can select and activate the modules that align with their business needs.
The system provides configuration options within the software itself, removing the need of coding.
Dolibarr was designed to have the lowest learning curve as possible. This is a main difference with most ERP and CRM solutions.
You don’t need technical knowledges and you don’t need to spend time to know how to use it. Just choose or not the option to define the feature you need, and use it intuitively.
For all open source software, the community is an integral part of their evolution. Can you tell us a bit about the community behind Dolibarr and how interested users and developers can get involved?
The Dolibarr community plays a vital role in shaping the software’s development and direction.
It consists of enthusiastic users, around 600+ developers, designers, and business professionals, 500+ translators, who collaborate to enhance the software’s features and usability.
Interested users and developers can get involved by joining the Dolibarr forums or github source forge.
They can participate in discussions, report bugs, suggest new features, and contribute code to the project.
The community-driven nature of Dolibarr ensures that the software remains relevant and adaptable to the evolving needs of businesses
You are not only the head of Dolibarr, with Sell-Your-SaaS you recently launched another project. Can you let us know what the idea behind this is and who it is for?
Sell-Your-SaaS was born out of the desire to empower individuals and businesses to create their own Software as a Service (SaaS) applications (first need was for Dolibarr ERP CRM) without the need for extensive technical knowledge.
The platform provides a framework and tools to transform existing open source applications into SaaS offerings.
Sell-Your-SaaS is aimed at system administrators who have a ready to sell web application, to bring them to the market as scalable SaaS solutions using a high level of mutualization to have a very low operating cost.
It enables them to focus on the unique aspects of their business and application while handling the technical complexities of the deployment, recurring invoicing, help desk, management of resellers, backups, supervision, security… all in the same documented project.
Two very big projects and we know you were also the man behind AWStats. Are there any other projects you are involved in at the moment that you want to mention?
As of now, my focus primarily remains on Dolibarr and Sell-Your-SaaS. These projects continue to be my main areas of innovation and contribution.
However, the world of open source is dynamic, and I’m always open to exploring new opportunities and ideas that align with my passion for creating practical solutions.
What advice would you give to anyone developing their first product, or have an idea but are not sure how to get started?
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and creators is to correctly analyze your passion.
The main secret of success is work.
And it needs a lot of time and work to move an Open source project into a success.
If you do it for the success, you will fail (you will be exhausted). If you do it for the passion, you will probably succeed, be patient.
What is interesting with Open Source is that, even if you fail, your work can be re-used and useful for any other reason you don’t think to, and may be useful for a lot of people. Just for this reason, even a fail will be a success…
Don’t spend your time to code only, think also to promote your project, to provide tools to help your community to be part of your project.
I mean, spend time to try to surround yourself with a supportive community, seek mentorship, and continuously learn from your experiences.
Ultimately, the world of open source and entrepreneurship is about creating solutions that bring value to others.
If you have an idea that can make a positive impact, don’t hesitate to follow through, iterate, and refine. Your journey might lead to something incredible that transforms not only your life but the lives of many others as well.