Two years ago, Nadia Eghbal "stumbled onto the internet's biggest blindspot": sustainability of open-source. Her Ford Foundation report "Roads and Bridges" became an instant classic. She shined a light on the underappreciated roles of maintainers and how difficult it was for even vital projects to get enough funding for a single person full time.
In this conversation, we discuss how she found "stumbled onto" this problem initially, and her road from the Ford Foundation to GitHub and now Protocol Labs. We discuss the challenges of indepdendent research and remote work... and how being able to find amazing friends and co-conspirators on Twitter somehow makes it all better. Nadia lays out her vision for the future of open source, and how we can tackle the human side of scaling open-source development. She also gives us a sneak preview of her current work on a new economic model for understanding how open-source software consumption scales. It doesn't scale costlessly, because "you have to make continual changes to it, either because people are submitting changes back to it, but also because software degrades over time. Knowledge degrades over time. You can't just release something once and be done with it."
Notes and transcript at futureofcoding.org/episodes/31