Mike McQuaid Avatar

Mike McQuaid

GitHub engineer. Homebrew lead maintainer. Dog owner. Blocks rude people.

Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Getting financial support from your users

Mike McQuaid shared some background on the approaches they’ve taken (and their pros and cons) to make Homebrew financially sustainable.

For predictable donations we set up the standard (at the time at least): a Patreon account. We offered nothing in exchange for donations but to told people we were an entirely volunteer-run project.

… We show users a one-time message on first install or on a Homebrew update to tell them we needed donations and where and how to do so. As soon as this message rolled out we saw a huge jump on donations eventually settling between $2500-$3000 a month on Patreon…

Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Stop mentoring first-time contributors

According to Mike McQuaid, the focus of an open source maintainer should be learning to mentor efficiently — where should you be investing your time?

If you’re an open source maintainer lucky enough to have a significant number of contributors you need to learn to mentor efficiently. First timer issues are not the right good way to get people involved in your project nor mentoring individual first-time contributors. Instead, do things that help all of them.

Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

"This is why people don’t contribute to your open source project"

Do you want more contributors and maintainers on your project? Mike McQuaid, maintainer of Homebrew (macOS package manager), writes on his personal blog:

Here are a a few guidelines in thinking about this:

  • Most contributors were users first (“scratching your own itch”: most people start contributing to an open source project to solve a problem they are experiencing)
  • Most maintainers were a contributor and user first (people don’t just jump into maintaining a project without helping to build it first)
  • Maintainers cannot do a good job without remaining a user (to maintain context, passion and empathy)

Combined, these start to look a bit like a sales funnel. People have to travel through each stage and there’s a fairly hefty drop-off at each one.

Also check out ~> Open source maintainers owe you nothing

0:00 / 0:00