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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 / [email protected]
    @ArgesRic

    https://mastodon.social/@ricardojmendez/
    Supporting the
    Randos
    Ricardo J. Méndez

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

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  3. About Randos…

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  4. @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

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  5. @argesric @samsungnext
    The Internet runs on randos.

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

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  7. @argesric @samsungnext
    The further removed someone is
    from our work, the more likely we
    are to be perceived as a “rando”.

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  8. My own experience

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  9. @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…

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  10. @argesric @samsungnext
    I did well enough.
    But it wasn’t scaleable nor
    sustainable.

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  11. @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

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  12. @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…

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  13. @argesric @samsungnext
    Long-term disruption won’t come
    out of grants.

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

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

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

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  17. @argesric @samsungnext
    Being “green” doesn’t mean
    you’ve got it made.
    Clearly we have room for
    improvement.

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  18. Figuring out why

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  19. @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?

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  20. @argesric @samsungnext
    Why then didn’t companies just
    take it and run?

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  21. @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

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  22. @argesric @samsungnext
    I got lucky and stumbled upon a
    source of friction.

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  23. @argesric @samsungnext
    Friction makes people think
    about the people behind the
    software.

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  24. Reaching out

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  25. @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

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  26. @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

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  27. @argesric @samsungnext
    He’s not just outlining reasons.
    Zooko is making an emotional
    argument.

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  28. Make it matter

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  29. @argesric @samsungnext

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  30. @argesric @samsungnext
    Emotional appeal is just as
    important as a rationale.

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  31. @argesric @samsungnext

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  32. @argesric @samsungnext
    To get funding, you need to stop
    being perceived as a rando.

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  33. One last thing…

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  34. @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…

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  35. @argesric @samsungnext
    We developers need to get better
    at supporting others.

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  36. @argesric @samsungnext
    Thank you.
    Contact: [email protected]

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