The entire foreword is available in the press kit .
Part I: Failing Forward
Chapter 1: High School
I was introduced to computers at the age of 12, resulting in my first business idea at the age of 14.
Chapter 2: College
My greatest achievement in college was meeting my future wife and business partner. We married before graduating.
Chapter 3: Internship
The skills I acquired during an unpaid internship resulted in my first job and had a significant impact on my later career.
Chapter 4: Early Career
In hindsight, I realize that my restlessness as an employee was caused by the unidentified desire to be an entrepreneur.
Chapter 5: My First PDF Library
I had stubbornly been looking for a personal project, but the project found me. I didn’t expect it would involve a popular document format.
Chapter 6: The Birth of iText
Personal experience taught me my first PDF library was useful, but to make it developer friendly, I would have to rewrite it.
Chapter 7: Frustrations
I was so distracted by self-inflicted annoyances that it took me several years to realize the full potential of iText.
Part II: Building Free and Open Source Software
Chapter 8: Free Software
To understand how open source came about, it’s important to know the history of free software.
Chapter 9: Open Source Software
The birth of iText coincided with the emergence of open source as a disrupting model threatening the traditional software business.
Chapter 10: iText in Action
The existence of good documentation is indispensable for every self-respecting open source project. A book is excellent marketing.
Chapter 11: Intellectual Property
The threshold to adopting FOSS is low, but while reviewing the IP of iText, I learned about the importance of the fine print in licenses.
Chapter 12: 1T3XT BVBA
We founded the first iText company, 1T3XT BVBA, out of necessity, but it almost failed due to circumstances beyond our control.
Chapter 13: iText Software Corporation
A new company for iText had a running start in the US, but when sales dropped to zero after three-quarters, I agreed to migrate to a less permissive FOSS license: the AGPL.
Chapter 14: Bootstrapping
My metamorphosis from employee to entrepreneur didn’t happen overnight; it was the result of insights gathered over the years.
Chapter 15: iText Software BVBA
The importance of sales is often underestimated by developers, but generates the fuel for further development and expansion.
Chapter 16: Monetizing Open Source
There’s more than one way to build a business based on FOSS. Here’s how commercial open source software (COSS) can work for you.
Chapter 17: Lessons Learned
You don’t always need business books to learn about business. Life has its own way of reminding us what is important.
Part III: From Start-Up to Exit
Chapter 18: Dilemmas
In July 2012, we hired an M&A consultant to assess our business in the context of a possible exit. We became aware of some dilemmas and how these affected the decisions we had made in the past.
Chapter 19: A Strategy for iText
We listed our options, chose the one that matched our ambitions, and put things in motion to change the business accordingly.
Chapter 20: Winning
Looking back, 2014 and 2015 were the most pleasant years for me in the history of iText. We were on a roll, winning in different fields.
Chapter 21: A Roadmap for iText
Delegating responsibilities freed up time to develop a technological roadmap for the near and distant future.
Chapter 22: Partial Exit
In December 2015, we succeeded in selling three-quarters of our business, a full year ahead of schedule.
Chapter 23: Year 1—A Search for Synergies
I was eager to explore possible synergies between iText Group and Hancom in the first year after the acquisition, but I underestimated the challenge ahead.
Chapter 24: Year 2—A Change of Strategy
While the future for iText was looking brighter than ever, my relationship with Hancom was hitting a low.
Chapter 25: Year 3—A Change in Management
A change in management, a new shareholder, and unresolved concerns made me a stranger in the company I founded.
Chapter 26: Exit Through the Courtroom
I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to iText. We parted ways with a legal battle that would take a year and a half.