Lulu CEO on the invention of the self-publishing business

Lulu.com helped define modern publish-on-demand services. In my mind, they did define them; I remember printing my first photobook and sending it to Lulu to be sent back, spiral-bound. I was amazed. I had essentially put together a small markup language (DSL, or Domain Specific Language, even), processed it through a Scheme script, and spit out LaTeX that produced reasonably pretty pages that could be converted to PDF and submitted for publication. I think I bought two copies.

Bob Young co-founded the Linux Journal in 1994, was co-founder and CEO of Red Hat from 1993 through 2000, and went on to found Lulu.com, where he remains the CEO today. I had the opportunity to ask Bob for a few minutes of his time to answer some questions as part of our leadup to All Things Open 2014. I wish I was going to be in Raleigh to take part come October 22-23, but instead I’m going to be out at the Society of Women Engineers national conference. Otherwise, I’d be there. What follows is our asynchronous email-interview to help set the stage for this upcoming conference.