At CTO.ai; we believe in developers.
Our mission is to build developer tools that have a 10x impact on developer productivity, without sacrificing the individual creativity and domain experience, which makes being a developer so great. That is, we want to help 5 people be 2x more successful in their careers. The way we are going to accomplish this is by giving developers the tools to build out beautiful experiences that abstract complexity and help them to accomplish redundant tasks easily. When done right, there is an exponential impact on a developer’s success, especially given how much more complex software development is now, compared to even 10 years ago.
Many developers look to the open source community to find these tools and often they come across someone like TJ Holowaychuk. I truly believe TJ shares in this mission - whether he'll admit it or not - as he has actually had that impact on me personally.
I recall the first time I stumbled across Express.js and began reading the source code, I felt like I was looking at art. I knew I had to find the creator and what I came across felt like a war chest of amazing tools that suddenly gave me super powers and a new found confidence to face any problem in front of me. It is amazing that all of these tools were created by and maintained by this one open source developer. It’s almost inconceivable that one person can contribute so much. TJ's work is so prolific that there are even those who wonder if he's even real.
Let me assure you - TJ is real. We've met and talked. He's a genuine, humble and an amazing creator who cares deeply about his craft. He has a unique value structure associated to his work which I completely envy. He cares a lot about creating something that is beautiful but also extremely useful to many out there like him.
Unfortunately, this mission can be really challenging to pursue as a full-time employee in a corporate environment and that's one of the reasons I truly admire TJ - for his courage to pursue open source full-time and solve really important problems, even if they are not ‘aligned’ with typical venture incentives.
Now with that said, let's get real for a second here...
The open source system sucks and it is failing open source developers who your business depends on to be successful. It has to change.
TJ's work doesn't just benefit individual developers like me. It benefits businesses, especially startups because it means their developers do not have to start from first principles. The work that TJ is doing is literally powering thousands upon thousands of modern businesses, resulting in tens of millions of downloads a week, at least.
The truth is that there are many amazing open source creators out there just like TJ who are allocating their personal time to building these tools so that developers at your business can be more productive. The work they are doing directly contributes to your entrepreneurial success, but as your business becomes successful (reaching IPO or even liquidity), they get very little in return, especially monetarily, to support them and their work. It is a broken system that needs to change.
“Make decisions that demonstrate your priorities.” - Ben Horowitz
At CTO.ai we've made the decision to sponsor TJ in his efforts by using Github Sponsors because we believe it is the right thing to do and is aligned with our mission. We're supporting him so that he can pursue more projects that help developers.
As an example...
Today, TJ published a new experience called Triage.
OSS Maintainers deal with thousands upon thousands of notifications from their community every time they release a new version of their software (for free). As an example, here is a timeline I recorded where @Feross demonstrated just how much work it was for him just to triage a release he made on the popular project Standard. It literally took him months to work through all of the community notifications...
Given that these are often 1 person or small teams, this huge wave of inbound questions, bugs, and sometimes even frustrations can be incredibly overwhelming to maintainers because the current experience has so much room for improvement.
It can take developers months to dig through and triage these notifications and even though Github is trying to make investments here, they have a long way to go.
Triage aims to help solve this problem by streamlining the user experience on top of Github notifications, directly from the command line to help maintainers triage notifications quickly and effectively with powerful shortcuts.
Triage is Superhuman for open source maintainers who need to rapidly triage community notifications.
If this can save 5 maintainers 2x the time they would otherwise spend on managing these notifications, they in turn can do the same for their communities by focusing more of their time on creating unique value in their projects. That's an easy 10x win.
TJ has published Triage under an MIT license on Github but has also published it via The Ops Platform as well so you can run it instantly with:
❯ ops run @tj/triage
We're happy to be able to support TJ and this cause in a way that hopefully sets an example for others, but this is just the start of creating change. We all have to do more and such a small effort is not enough to support this community properly.
As a founder, I've have always said that I was committed to supporting OSS for as long as I run my company but lately, that doesn't feel like enough anymore.
So today I am personally pledging 1% of my currently outstanding founder shares in this company to be re-invested back into individual OSS maintainers, with no strings attached, as soon as such liquidity is available to me in the future. I challenge other founders to also make their own #OpenSourceMaintainerPledge.
My hope with this pledge is that I can set an example for other technical founders in this community who have the ability to influence so that we may start to do a better job of taking care of our own by giving back a piece of our success in a very real way.
It's simple. We need open source creators to profit from their work.
The future of technology is being shaped by these creators. It is going to take more than contributing back a few pull requests. We need to invest into a stronger support structure both with tooling and proceeds from our profits because ensuring their success is ensuring our success and CTO.ai is proud to be betting on that future.
Are you an open source creator or maintainer? Get in touch with me.
I would love to know how we might be able to support you too.
More sponsorship announcements...
Really excited to be in the fortunate position that we can continue to support OSS maintainers like Julian who have given countless hours to over 500 node packages that the community depends on daily. That’s worth supporting!#OpenSourceMaintainerPledge https://t.co/nLRrXL6u5T— Kyle Campbell 🤘🏴☠️🚀 (@slajax) November 26, 2019