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Last active Mar 10, 2017

What would you like to do?
Talk Proposal: How to build an open-source community and ecosystem

This is a proposal for a talk that I'd love to give. If you'd love to have me present this at your conference, please get in touch. If you'd like to attend this talk, please +1 it in the comments.

How to build an open-source community and ecosystem

Open-source is the tool of the trade these days. More developers are going open in their spare time for the altruistic experience, and companies are utilising open-source to garner increased attention and work-force. This talk goes into real-life detail on how you too can build growing and sustainable communities and ecosystems around your open-source solutions.


open-source, open-collaboration, donations, advertising, sponsorship, consulting, advisory


This talk will be run by Benjamin Lupton, one of the top 20 most active open-source contributors in the world. Benjamin is the creator of History.js (a top 40 javascript project) and DocPad (a top 40 CoffeeScript project), as well as a previous lead on Aloha Editor.

He's been able to build his open-source ecosystem to allow himself to work on his open-source solutions full-time via the donations from individuals and sponsorships from companies, as well as empower others (including 4 business partners under his leadership) to also earn full time incomes from his open-source solutions.

In this talk, Benjamin will be going over the details on how he was able to build this success, in simple (yet challenging at times) lessons that anyone will be able to reproduce and replicate the results if applied. These are the learnings from his own experiences, and the countless studies of others as well. It'll cover:

  • Why is open-source becoming ever increasingly popular? and what threat does it present to the closed-source way of doing things?
  • Why do some open-source projects get huge, and others fail? What are the killer differences between them?
  • What procedures do you need to put in place in order to get people onboard and contributing, not only short-term but long-term too?
  • How can I inspire and empower others to join my project? and how can I inevitably grow the courage to relinquish my own control over my project as the time comes for it?
  • How do I juggle this as well as my day job? We all know the saying, if you do open-source, you have a full-time job just with that!
  • How do I one day earn a full-time income from my open-source projects? How can I build the ecosystem big enough that everyone can have the same opportunities to work on it full time?
  • How on earth do I still earn money if I'm giving away my open-source work for free?!?!?!?!

These are all the things you need to know for your open-source projects to succeed. This is the essentials. If you do open-source yourself, or want to be able to have a greater understanding of open-source ecosystems to be able to better utilise and leverage them, this is a must have.


Some basic understanding of the startup/tech scene would be great, but not necessary. I will go into technical details at times, however all levels will be able to follow along while still gaining valuable insights that can help their future.

Additional Notes

I feel strongly and passionately about this talk, that it can help all those working with open-source, without them going through the years of hard lessons that I've had to go through.

You can check out my background, activity, projects, and resume on my website here:

DocPad is the latest project and ecosystem I've been working on, which can be viewed here: - however, more interesting is this talk about it:

Go Open is a recent campaign I've just started to help encourage people and companies to adopt an open-collaboration philosophies to their workflow and attempts to break down the FUD and misconceptions surrounding open-source and free culture:

February this year, I gave this no-slideshow 40 minute talk about my experiences over the years building these open-source projects and the challenges I personally faced: This talk will be a more how-to guide, than the conceptual and motivational one given there.

I'll be happy and ecstatic to work on and improve this talk based on any feedback you provide. I'm passionate about improving, and always aim to give people the best experiences and value I can with my presentations. If you feel "it's crap, but... if you do this instead!" I'll certainly take that feedback on board and improve it. As well, even if you feel "it's awesome, but... maybe try this instead" I'll improve there too! I want to improve and give it 110%, to ensure everyone always gets the maximum results and value I can provide.

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