Greater Than Code

Greater Than Code

253: Reframing the Value of Open Source with Jen Weber

October 06, 2021

00:47 - Jen’s Superpower: Being Optimistic

Recognizing Negative Loops
Intentionality & Prioritization
Preventing Security Vulnerabilities

10:13 - Working On Open-Source Projects vs Commercial Software/Products

Gathering Feedback (RFCs)
Baby Steps = Big Impact

12:57 - Major vs Minor Releases

Semantic Versioning
Deprecation Warnings
Advanced Notice
Incremental Rollouts

18:45 - RFC / Feedback Processes

Dealing with Contradictory Feedback
Reaching Consensus
Visionary Leadership


23:25 - The Ember Core Team

~30 People

LinkedIn (Corporate Sponsorship)
Consultants & Consultancies

26:31 - Doing Open Source Better

Sponsor Company (Time)
Knowledge Sharing
Framing Work As How It Values Contributors
Reframing How We Think About Open Source Sustainability (i.e. Company-Wide Open Source Work Days)

Frame Value to Company
Frame Value to Users
Frame Value to Engineering Teams

Attitude Shifts

39:56 - Participation Encouragement & Engagement Tips

Use The Buddy System
Having Well-Scoped Issues
Increasing Levels of Challenge (Subtle Cheerleading)
Help People Spin Up Quickly

46:00 - Widening the Pool of Participants

Being Easy to Reach
Social Media Activity
Working In The Open

47:36 - UX-Driven Design (User Experience-Driven Design)


Damien: Perspective of those impacted. Sponsors, users, etc.

Arty: What it’s like to work on a big open source project and the challenges we face.

Jen: Exploring small-project lifecycles.

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ARTY: Hi, everyone and welcome to Episode 253 of Greater Than Code. I am Artemis Starr and I am here with my fabulous co-host, Damien Burke.

DAMIEN: And we are here with our fabulous guest, Jen Weber.

Jen Weber is a member of the Ember.js core team and is a senior software engineer at ActBlue Technical Services. Jen loves open source, rapid prototyping, and making tech a more welcoming industry.

Jen, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show.

JEN: Thank you so much for having me.

DAMIEN: So you should have gotten an email preparing you for the first and most difficult part of every appearance on Greater Than Code. Are you ready for this?

JEN: I am.

DAMIEN: What is your superpower and how did you acquire it?

JEN: All right. So I did get that email and I've been thinking about those for the last couple of days. I think my superpower is being able to imagine the ways that things can go well.

DAMIEN: Wow. That's very special.

JEN: Thank you.

DAMIEN: How did you acquire that?

JEN: So I used to be very good at imagining all of the ways that things can go badly. Those are still the patterns that my mind walks whenever I'm confronted with a challenge, but someone gave me some advice. I was recounting to them all of the ways that things could go badly, they were like, “What would it look like if things went well?” I've been trying to build that as a muscle and a skill anytime I'm working on a new project, or something hasn't gone well, something's already gone badly, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I found that helped me open up to more creative thinking.

ARTY: I really think that is a superpower and in order for things to go well, for us to manifest good things toward a good direction, we have to be able to see the steps to get there, imagine ourselves walking in that direction to be able to do it. And if we're caught in a loop of worrying about all the things that are going to go wrong, anticipating those things going wrong, then it's like we're going to be waiting for him