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Can Patreon Save Open Source?

Can Patreon help sustain open source projects financially?

On Patreon, the average initial pledge amount has increased 22 percent over the past two years. Since 2017, the share of new patrons paying more than $100 per month—or $1,200 per year—has grown 21 percent. (View Highlight)

The normalization of this model may be important for open source going forward. GitHub Stars don't pay your rent after all.

Most Don't Pay. But Those Who Pay, PAY

This strategy is closely related to the concept of “whales” in gaming, in which 1 to 2 percent of users drive 80 percent of gaming companies’ revenue (View Highlight)

I've noticed something similar with Stenography. Most users don't pay at all, but those who choose to pay disproportionately choose the higher more expensive tier. I wonder if the optimal strategy as an individual creator is to set a high floor or a low one, since people who care to support like to pay a lot. Most people aren't super fans, but for those who are, cost is elastic. 202212160134

The Trillion Dollar Dev

I was first attracted to open source – public code that everybody relies upon – after observing that its developers are creating trillions of dollars in economic value, while giving away their code for free. The common explanation for this discrepancy is that open source is a volunteer group effort, like Wikipedia. But, digging a little deeper, I found that the cooperative nature of open source was largely overstated. While examples of large-scale collaboration exist, there are also countless projects maintained by individual developers. (Imagine if Wikipedia were mostly written by one person…which is actually not entirely off-base.)

its hard to understate the positive externalities open source has provided for society -- and yet many programmers (myself included) are quite cynical about technology and its direction. If open source paid better, what economics about would change about it? would supply go up causing demand to go down? Can Patreon save Open Source?

The tragic comedy of the trillion dollar dev who's made $0 for their work, and is ignorant of how broadly used their code is.

Open Source Maintainers Have to Read the Comments

For me, it was open source developers that helped me make sense of the future. They've long experienced the frog-boiling that came with prior social norms of “everybody participates” butting up against the reality of “participation doesn't scale.” And they have to figure it out in a way that other creators don't. An Instagram creator who doesn't look at their DMs might miss a few good ones. But if an open source developer doesn’t read their bug reports, other people's lives are materially impacted, visible in the form of site outages and security breaches flitting through the news headlines.

There is a non trivial burden to chasing creative obsession in the open source space. The reliance on the technology open source maintainers build becomes an obligation for the maintainer. Creating trillions of dollars of value for free can be taxing 202212180035, but boredom of a project? Deadly ☠️

Luxuries became decencies, and decencies necessities. (Location 195)
-- Status Anxiety