tl;dr: I’m seeking personal sponsorship. See the Sponsor Florian page for details.

If you have been following me in some form, you might have noticed that I do have a profession and a passion. My profession is programming, my passion is programming communities. I build community structures. As a hobby. The results looks like this:

RustFest 2016 in Berlin, by

I’m doing this - in some form or another - almost since I have internet access. In 1999, I became involved in a music community as a moderator. A couple of years later, during my studies, I got involved in the Ruby community in a similar capacity. From there, I moved on to running small events, multiple full conferences, for example the (eurucamp and JRubyConf.EU) and a non-profit, Ruby Berlin. I jumped on the chance to shape a community on an international level with Rust, joining the global community team and starting the (accidentally) biggest Rust conference, RustFest. I have run the on-site part of the Rust projects all-hands. Contrary to popular belief, I have never moved on from the Ruby community though, I’m still around and supporting where I can. If you want a current overview of my efforts, see this year’s and last year’s logs or my profile for details. Yep, that’s more than 17 events there, not including meetups.

It’s been an interesting, often enjoyable and sometimes less enjoyable ride. It’s definitely exhausting. But I don’t intent to complain. I have chosen to be part of the conference meat grinder and have had the chance to develop skills to deal with that. I have also developed a huge set of skills around FOSS conferencing.

But I’m at a fork again: my FOSS project responsibilities have grown so much that they encroach on other parts of my life. This includes time I should spend with company, clients and personal live. It leaves me with two options: shed many of my projects (as mxsash does) or find ways of making this more sustainable. Retreating would also mean that on the surviving projects, others would have to cover the resulting gap, often with less skills or experience.

On not going professional

I’m frequently asked why I don’t go professional with my work. This is option I’ve evaluated (and you can even hire me through asquera Event), but it still is a different thing. Doing community organisation for clients or employed at a company means that you are bound to them: you have to represent them, their values and their products, whether they match up with the communities and my personal values or not.

Also, I don’t want to quit my main job: building software and working on my consulting company. It’s enjoyable and teasing, I like asquera and its colleagues. I have no intention of leaving them. Indeed, a current problem is that my involvement in community often ends up to be at asqueras cost, with no clear return. Many people believe that community contacts monetise well, but this is often not the case, except when you practise community sales, which I don’t. Asquera often end up as sponsor of community spaces like co.up or covering short-term costs for events, so it’s more of a cost factor.

My preference to support projects that put affordability high on the list of values doesn’t fit many commercial endeavours. No shiny stages here.

Professionalised side efforts

Over time, my efforts have grown to be a full side job. And that captures it well: many of the things I do could be done with a very limited amount of time effort. But also, over the years, the expectations in quality and reliability have outgrown a mere hobby. Also, more and more projects approach me for consultation, which is an unpredictable effort.

I’m not opposed to that. I like building structures, I just don’t want it to be everything I spend my time with.

Room to breathe

What’s currently lacking is room to breathe. Many of my projects suffer from the fact that I need to squeeze them in between professional and private life. Most notably, the room to improve them is lacking. This leads to a situation where success becomes your enemy: RustFest Paris exceeded our projections to the point where the attached hackfest impl days is a small conference in itself.

Couldn’t Mozilla pay all that?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: given my involvement, couldn’t Mozilla pay me for my work? It probably a question one could ask, but I currently don’t want to:

  1. Mozilla already sponsors my work:
  1. Mozilla can’t be the default sponsor for everything
  2. I do notable work outside of Rust and help other communities out

Seeking sponsorship

For the reasons laid out above, I’m seeking personal sponsorship. My work is valuable to communities and builds foundations. While it may not be of immediate use to many, it is of secondary use. You’re searching for Rust developer or a Rust job? RustFest has them. eurucamp was a large hiring pool for many companies. It was innovative and raised standards of inclusiveness and accessibility. Even less direct, growing communities open up new opportunities for new people and products to raise to the top.

I’m seeking this sponsorship from companies (or business individuals) who benefit from my work. I don’t want money from individual donors.

Please see the Sponsor Florian page for details.

What will your contribution enable and how can you see that?

Securing funding would allow me to dedicate more time to community efforts, be it rust or Ruby or language-agnostic. As detailed on the funding page, money would flow through my company, so that I can reduce my hours dedicated to client work accordingly. I’ll continue providing a log that lists all my community and open source work to provide transparency and insight into the work done. If you decide to sponsor with higher payments, I’ll make time to answer questions about my work (remotely or in person, depending on where you are located) on a regular basis.

What will I provide?

For transparency reasons: a regular writeup and log of things done, at least once a month. Also, my work output is free and open source (usually under CC-BY-4.0), for you to use, reuse and remix!

For larger sponsors, I can definitely provide a gesture in return, such as allowing you to pick my brain about community management or even giving a talk on FOSS community subjects at your company.

Please see the Sponsor Florian page for details.


Thanks to Daniela for talking to me about “professionalised side efforts” and Ramón for asking a lot of tough questions at Isle of Ruby! Thanks to Dajana and Felix for proofreading and feedback.