One of the “wall of shame” items that came out of the Principles discussions was a lack of non-salaried contributors. For an open source project we have an over-reliance on core contributors and thus we have need to attract more contributors in general. The focus of this post is on Technically-skilled contributors (i.e engineers) but also applies to other types of contribution.
There are some assumptions below, so bear with me. When it comes to potential to contribute to Status, I think there are roughly 3 categories of people:
Crypto/blockchain enthusiasts: the super-early adopters to the sector that already exist, and largely have already heard of Status. These people work/play/live in the space. They are intrinsically motivated to contribute to Status through either alignment with our principles AND/OR passion around the technology.
Mis-aligned Tech workers: General Tech workers that share our values/principles - specifically privacy and security. They probably work full-time for a for a Tech company, are interested in crypto/blockchain but haven’t made the leap because there’s a big risk to them leaving their well-paid, comfortable day job. However, they’re misaligned with the privacy/security principles held by their employer and find themselves increasingly disenchanted with the direction being taken. Examples of this: the internal backlash coming from sub-groups of Google, Facebook and other big Tech companies over privacy issues.
"Regular" tech folks that have a particular passion for our values (security/privacy) but haven’t yet explored the blockchain space. These people probably work for smaller tech companies, in the security/privacy space and are very ideologically aligned with what we’re doing, even if they don’t have explicit knowledge of the space.
I think there’s an opportunity to attract contributors from #2 right now - these are folks that are employed & well paid but potentially unfulfilled. We can offer them the opportunity to help build something better, something that provides rather than extracts value from users. They may only have evenings and weekends to help, but I think it we can reach them there’s an opportunity to attract them to contribute. NOTE: I’m not talking about traditional recruiting, or bounties. I’m talking about attracting OSS contributors.
How do we attract them?
IMO, we have the right message and mission - these people and will be intrinsically motivated to contribute to Status, if we can reach them.
How do we reach them?
We could engage with disgruntled groups of “big tech” employees and offer them an alternative way. This could be achieved by attending/sponsoring non-crypto events focused on privacy/security, by reaching out to those groups when they voice public complaints about the direction of their current employers. You could also take a more hands-on approach: we could take banners/fliers directly outside their offices, with taglines like “Want to build a better web that focuses on the privacy of users? Contribute to Status (we’re open source)”.
- I acknowledge I’ve made a fair amount of assumptions/generalisations above about very large groups of individuals.
- Not every Big Tech company person is right for Status. In fact, a significant proportion of them will not be as they won’t share our values/principles. But if even 1% of them do share our values, and we can attract 1% of the 1% to contribute, we would significantly grow our contributor-base.