A Gittip Milestone: $100k per year in distributions

Gittip is now distributing over $100,000 per year to leaders of open source projects.

Gittip is now distributing over $100,000 per year to leaders of open source projects.

Many people have been watching Gittip, wondering if it will grow to have a significant impact on the open source ecosystem.  Here is an interesting calculation I punched into my phone this morning:

$1933.14 x 52 = $100,523.28

Gittip is now distributing over $100,000 per year!  This is an important milestone.

In case you are unfamiliar with Gittip, it is a unique take on crowdfunding open source projects.  If you want to support someone in their work on an open source project, you can register for a Gittip account.  You decide how much you want to “tip” the recipient each week, and then make a deposit.  Gittip withdraws the tip amount from your balance each week, and distributes it to the recipient of your choosing.  The minimum tip is $0.25, and the maximum you can tip any one person is $24.  Gittip’s goal is to offer predictable, sustainable, long-term support to the leaders of important open source and public service projects.

The overall funding level on Gittip has been rising slowly but steadily for over 40 weeks now.

The overall funding level on Gittip has been rising slowly but steadily for over 40 weeks now.

The overall funding level on Gittip has been rising slowly but steadily.  $100,000 in annual distributions is an important milestone, because we are one step closer to seeing people earn their entire living through Gittip donations.  Right now the highest-tipped person is receiving $188.23 per week, which translates to $9,787.96 annually.  The tenth highest-tipped person is receiving $34.13 per week, or $1,774.76 annually.  We are still a long way from seeing any one person receive $100k per year through Gittip, but the overall platform achieving that level of participation is a good sign.

When we start to see people earning a living wage through Gittip, we will have a new patronage system on our hands.  Many people would consider a salary of $100,000 pretty luxurious, but when you consider taking out taxes and health insurance, we are talking about a moderate developer’s salary.  The kind of open source leaders who will earn this level of support through donations are certainly capable of earning a higher salary than this in the tech world.  This level of salary would mean that at least 4,000 people are supporting your work.  This broad support base would give the recipient a tremendous level of freedom in what projects they choose to focus on.

I loved Gittip the moment I saw it, and I hoped from the beginning to see steady growth in the project.  I am very happy to see this milestone come and go, and I look forward to the next significant milestone.  Now, back to working on my first Gittip-worthy open source project!

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About ehmatthes

Teacher, hacker, new dad, outdoor guy
This entry was posted in programming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Gittip Milestone: $100k per year in distributions

  1. > This broad support base would give the recipient a tremendous level of freedom in what projects they choose to focus on.

    I’m skeptical this would be the case. If I support someone who has contributed to a lib/framework/database/language that I benefit from and they decide to pursue their dreams of making an indie first-person-shooter, I’ll probably rethink my support. Looking at it another way, you might end up with people who feel obligated to work full-time on something they previously did on the side for the love of it. Will they now be subject to the rule of the majority? What happens if supporters find their decisions controversial? I feel like the motivation arrangement changes when you have someone depending on a crappy salary and the judgement of tons of anonymous people.

    I hope I’ll be proven wrong in time though :)

  2. ehmatthes says:

    I certainly agree that we won’t know the true impact of Gittip until it has been around a while. One of the reasons I feel it will give high-level recipients a fair degree of freedom is the way Gittip encourages us to support individuals, not projects. We certainly support individuals because of their projects. But when an OS leader has the backing of 4,000+ people, those people are probably going to support them in a variety of projects.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Jesse Noller’s level of support when he retires as Pycon Chair. He will continue to support a variety of projects through the PSF. We will see whether people were supporting him just because of his work on Pycon, or if people will continue to support him in general.

    I am also watching Kenneth Reitz with interest. He has some high-profile projects such as Requests, but he also just has a large body of OS work. I am guessing people will continue to support him for his overall commitment to open source.

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