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Supporting the Randos

Supporting the Randos

A few things that we as open source creators need to get better at if we are to improve sustainability, including supporting other developers ourselves.

Ricardo J. Méndez

August 21, 2019
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  1. August 21, 2019 / ricardo@samsungnext.com @ArgesRic
 https://mastodon.social/@ricardojmendez/ Supporting the Randos

    Ricardo J. Méndez
  2. Heresy!

  3. @argesric @samsungnext Building stuff is easy. Getting people to pay

    is hard.
  4. About Randos…

  5. @argesric @samsungnext “The plummeting server/software costs help, but it would

    be impossible without volunteer labor. It behooves us to support the randos.” https://mastodon.social/@ricardojmendez/17119862
  6. @argesric @samsungnext The Internet runs on randos.

  7. @argesric @samsungnext “Who are those again…?”

  8. @argesric @samsungnext The further removed someone is from our work,

    the more likely we are to be perceived as a “rando”.
  9. My own experience

  10. @argesric @samsungnext • Maintained a few projects over the years.

    • Somewhat niche: autonomous agents and coherent noise generation. • Two most popular: 1200 Github stars, 300 forks. • Ran them for about 6 years. • Zero funding. • MIT-licensed. As a developer…
  11. @argesric @samsungnext I did well enough. But it wasn’t scaleable

    nor sustainable.
  12. @argesric @samsungnext • Focused on open source and research furthering

    decentralization • Launched in November 2018 • Announced grantees in January 2019 • Disbursed $500,000 among 9 projects • That’s nice, but… what then? Stack Zero Grant
  13. @argesric @samsungnext • Do we fund the same projects, do

    we pick new ones? • Do we keep the same focus, or change it? • Do we use the same funding amounts, or do we give more money to fewer projects? • … and what do the projects do while we figure this out? Assume eternal funding…
  14. @argesric @samsungnext Long-term disruption won’t come out of grants.

  15. The poverty line https://staltz.com/software-below-the-poverty-line.html

  16. @argesric @samsungnext https://staltz.com/software-below-the-poverty-line.html

  17. @argesric @samsungnext https://staltz.com/software-below-the-poverty-line.html

  18. @argesric @samsungnext Being “green” doesn’t mean you’ve got it made.

    Clearly we have room for improvement.
  19. Figuring out why

  20. @argesric @samsungnext • MIT license, which asks for nothing in

    return; • Clearly modularized, • Well documented, • With a separate set of use examples, • All to remove adoption friction… Remember those two projects?
  21. @argesric @samsungnext Why then didn’t companies just take it and

    run?
  22. @argesric @samsungnext • Luis Villa, from Tidelift, delivered at Monkigras

    2018 • Frictionless improves adoption… • … but frictionless also means nobody needs to think of you. • Licenses are a way of adding friction. • But that still doesn’t explain my case. Friction, Sustainability & Open Source
  23. @argesric @samsungnext I got lucky and stumbled upon a source

    of friction.
  24. @argesric @samsungnext Friction makes people think about the people behind

    the software.
  25. Reaching out

  26. @argesric @samsungnext • Zooko Wilcox, Electric Coin Company • VC-funded

    • Dedicates 20% of Zcash’s issuance to the founding team • Started in 2016 • Only lasts four years, will stop in 2020 • Already working on it Zcash
  27. @argesric @samsungnext “I set the shape of it, but the

    Zcash community breathed life into it.” “ I decided that the Founder’s Reward would be 20% of the first four years of issuance. That was 20% of nothing.” https://medium.com/@zooko_25893/a-personal-letter-about-the-possibility-of-a-new-zcash-dev-fund-f6d30df64392
  28. @argesric @samsungnext He’s not just outlining reasons. Zooko is making

    an emotional argument.
  29. Make it matter

  30. @argesric @samsungnext

  31. @argesric @samsungnext Emotional appeal is just as important as a

    rationale.
  32. @argesric @samsungnext

  33. @argesric @samsungnext To get funding, you need to stop being

    perceived as a rando.
  34. One last thing…

  35. @argesric @samsungnext • Who has donated their own money to

    an open source project? • Who has done it this year? • Who does it in a regular, predictable manner? Say, using an automated charge? Personally…
  36. @argesric @samsungnext We developers need to get better at supporting

    others.
  37. @argesric @samsungnext Thank you. Contact: ricardo@samsungnext.com