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BelFOSS - Marketing your FOSS open source project to increase contribution


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Are you managing an open source project? How much does this matter to your reputation, business, or bottom line? This session will provide practical takeaways to help you reach the right audience and open up productive lines of communication with your project’s users and community members.

From predictable release schedules and release notes; to the differences between tutorials, guides, and documentation; and yes, to your promotional schedule–marketing touches on all aspects of communication between your users and your product.

We’ll look at open source contribution from a marketing perspective, and draw on research into barriers to contribution for newcomers. There are some surprising onboarding gaps overlooked by most open source projects, and they are easy to bridge, for example with containerized applications.

Published in: Technology
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BelFOSS - Marketing your FOSS open source project to increase contribution

  1. 1. Marketing your FOSS project to increase contribution #BelFOSS 2018 Heather McNamee @nearlythere
  2. 2. Communicate. Connect. Grow. Tracy Evans @kanadiankicks Jeffrey A. “jam” McGuire @horncologne 9 174 990 2665 Heather McNamee @nearlythere
  3. 3. A better definition of marketing Your goals and message Your contributor’s goals Connecting the dots Practical tips In this talk
  4. 4. “Marketing Fluff” Bullshit Bingo
  5. 5. The Dark Arts of Marketing
  6. 6. Has Bean
  7. 7. Authentic Communication: Compelling & Accurate Understand your stakeholders and their needs. Genuine, hype-free content. Amplify the voices of your communities. Value propositions organized by themes, messages, & channelsEmpathy Clarity Trust (authentic communication)
  8. 8. Community Authentic communication drives connection ... Community creates business value. Communication Connection Connection drives community ...
  9. 9. Your goals & message
  10. 10. open-source-apps/
  11. 11. What do maintainers need? Via TideLift - “Pay the maintainers!” supporting open source through subscription model. 351312224262 16915540545536
  12. 12. I want more contributors so that... I can have more help. More eyeballs is better quality. Keep it relevant. I want to widen my network. Potential hires / staff. Potential customers. Why?
  13. 13. Facebook’s motivations - It makes them write better software - It reduces onboarding time christine-abernathy-facebook To win hearts and minds?
  14. 14. Side Project? Mitchell Hashimoto’s “Side project” Vagrant Now Hashicorp Raised $74.2M
  15. 15. Your message Value proposition What is unique about your project? Differentiate. Call to action (CTA) Why should contributors get involved? What do you need?
  16. 16. Your contributors
  17. 17. What do we mean by Contribution? Code contributions Monetary contributions Feedback, testing Triage, support, helping others Documentation, tutorials Promotion
  18. 18. Why do they contribute? ● Clear and easy contribution process. ● Feel good factor give back to community ● Gain reputation and prestige ● They needed the fixes done! More Common Than You Think: An In-Depth Study of Casual Contributors
  19. 19. ● Lack of time ● No income from it ● Limited skills or knowledge ● Code/project is hard to learn ● Casual contributors are usually active in other projects ● Setting up development environment Supporting newcomers to overcome the barriers to contribute to open source software projects More Common Than You Think: An In-Depth Study of Casual Contributors Why don’t they contribute?
  20. 20. Casual Contributors are “Leads” Casual contributors are responsible for only 1.73% of the total number of contributions in our corpus of OSS projects More Common Than You Think: An In-Depth Study of Casual Contributors 28% of casual contributions to open source are documentation such as a typo fix, reformatting, or writing a translation
  21. 21. Used with permission “Effective Open Source Interactions” by Mike McQuaid
  22. 22. Communicating your message
  23. 23. Marketing to developers Allergic to aggressive marketing. They are ad-blockers. They make a bee-line for good content. They are curious autodidacts! few-ads/
  24. 24. Customer Journey Touchpoints 1. First contact 2. Seek information 3. Download & Install it 4. Seek help 5. Contribute!
  25. 25. README ome-readme
  26. 26. A license!
  27. 27. Project maturity level and roadmap Is it clear what kinds of contributions you’re looking for? What you will NOT accept? Known issues? Lots of greenfield work to be done? Is this project on life support?
  28. 28. Contribution guidelines The contribution steps Expectations Example
  29. 29. Consistent release and versioning Predictable releases. Consistent cadence for communications. dReleases Consistent version scheme, tag names. 1.0.0-alpha1, v1.0.0, v1.1.2. Use Preview/Snapshot Versions For Development. 1.1.0.pre1 1.1.0- alpha1 elopment-cycle.html
  30. 30. Lifesigns! Responsive on the issue queue. How long should people expect to wait? Delegate triage. mmunity_automation.html
  31. 31. Recognition Record contributions. Recognize outstanding contributors. Also NON-code contributions! Gather stories about people behind your project.
  32. 32. Community Speak with your contributors Run Sprints! Check out my guide!
  33. 33. Docs = Map Tutorials = Travel book Training = Guided tour
  34. 34. Recap! ● Understand your own goals. Your WHY. ● Understand your users, your target audience. ○ What are their pain points? ○ What are you offering them? ○ Talk with them! ● How can you communicate your message best? ○ Predictable cadence ○ Strong, consistent signal ○ Responsive interaction ○ Help people learn!
  35. 35. Who’s buyin? Attribution Richard Stallman speaking in Oslo as Saint IGNUcius. 2009-02-23. h_01.jpg
  36. 36. Resources ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
  37. 37. Questions? Ping me @nearlythere Run a sprint, check out the guide