The Hat

If you want me to keep doing… whatever this is… now’s the time to support it!

patreonopen-sourcebloggingsupported Friday March 29, 2024

This year I will be going to two conferences: PyCon 2024, and North Bay Python 2024.

At PyCon, I will be promoting my open source work and my writing on this blog. As I’m not giving a talk this year, I am looking forward to organizing and participating in some open spaces about topics like software architecture, open source sustainability, framework interoperability, and event-driven programming.

At North Bay Python, though, I will either be:

  1. doing a lot more of that, or
  2. looking for new full-time employment, pausing the patreon, and winding down this experiment.

If you’d like to see me doing the former, now would be a great time to sign up to my Patreon to support the continuation of my independent open source work and writing.

The Bad News

It has been nearly a year since I first mentioned that I have a Patreon on this blog. That year has been a busy one, with consulting work and personal stuff consuming more than enough time that I have never been full time on independent coding & blogging. As such, I’ve focused more on small infrastructure projects and less on user-facing apps than I’d like, but I have spent the plurality of my time on it.

For that to continue, let alone increase, this work needs to—at the very least—pay for health insurance. At my current consulting rate, a conservative estimate based on some time tracking is that I am currently doing this work at something like a 98.5% discount. I do love doing it! I would be happy to continue doing it at a significant discount! But “significant” and “catastrophic” are different thresholds.

As I have said previously, this is an appeal to support my independent work; not to support me. I will be fine; what you will be voting for with your wallet is not my well-being but a choice about where I spend my time.

Hiding The Hat

When people ask me what I do these days, I sometimes struggle to explain. It is confusing. I might say I have a Patreon, I do a combination of independent work and consulting, or if I’m feeling particularly sarcastic I might say I’m an ✨influencer✨. But recently I saw the very inspiring Matt Ricardo describing the way he thinks about his own Patreon, and I realized what I am actually trying to do, which is software development busking.

Previously, when I’ve been thinking about making this “okay, it’s been a year of Patreon, let’s get serious now” post, I’ve been thinking about adding more reward products to my Patreon, trying to give people better value for their money before asking for anything more, trying to finish more projects to make a better sales pitch, maybe making merch available for sale, and so on. So aside from irregular weekly posts on Friday and acknowledgments sections at the bottom of blog posts, I’ve avoided mentioning this while I think about adding more private rewards.

But busking is a public performance, and if you want to support my work then it is that public aspect that you presumably want to support. And thus, an important part of the busking process is to actually pass the hat at the end. The people who don’t chip in still get to see the performance, but everyone else need to know that they can contribute if they liked it.1

I’m going to try to stop hiding the metaphorical hat. I still don’t want to overdo it, but I will trust that you’ll tell me if these reminders get annoying. For my part today, in addition to this post, I’m opening up a new $10 tier on Patreon for people who want to provide a higher level of support, and officially acknowledging the rewards that I already provide.

What’s The Deal?

So, what would you be supporting?

What You Give (The Public Part)

  1. I have tended to focus on my software, and there has been a lot of it! You’d be supporting me writing libraries and applications and build infrastructure to help others do the same with Python, as well as maintaining existing libraries (like the Twisted ecosystem libraries) sometimes. If I can get enough support together to more than bare support for myself, I’d really like to be able to do things like pay people to others to help with aspects of applications that I would struggle to complete myself, like accessibility or security audits.
  2. I also do quite a bit of writing though, about software and about other things. To make it easier to see what sort of writing I’m talking about, I’ve collected just the stuff that I’ve written during the period where I have had some patrons, under the supported tag.
  3. Per my earlier sarcastic comment about being an “influencer”, I also do quite a bit of posting on Mastodon about software and the tech industry.

What You Get (Just For Patrons)

As I said above, I will be keeping member benefits somewhat minimal.

  1. I will add you to SponCom so that your name will be embedded in commit messages like this one on a cadence appropriate to your support level.
  2. You will get access to my private Patreon posts where I discuss what I’ve been working on. As one of my existing patrons put it:

    I figure I’m getting pretty good return on it, getting not only targeted project tracking, but also a peek inside your head when it comes to Sores Business Development. Maybe some of that stuff will rub off on me :)

  3. This is a somewhat vague and noncommittal benefit, but it might be the best one: if you are interested in the various different projects that I am doing, you can help me prioritize! I have a lot of things going on. What would you prefer that I focus on? You can make suggestions in the comments of Patreon posts, which I pay a lot more attention to than other feedback channels.
  4. In the near future2 I am also planning to start doing some “office hours” type live-streaming, where I will take audience questions and discuss software design topics, or maybe do some live development to showcase my process and the tools I use. When I figure out the mechanics of this, I plan to add some rewards to the existing tiers to select topics or problems for me to work on there.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up now. If you’re already supporting me, sharing this and giving a brief testimonial of something good I’ve done would be really helpful. Github is not an algorithmic platform like YouTube, despite my occasional jokey “remember to like and subscribe”, nobody is getting recommended DBXS, or Fritter, or Twisted, or Automat, or this blog unless someone goes out and shares it.

  1. A year into this, after what feels like endlessly repeating this sales pitch to the point of obnoxiousness, I still routinely interact with people who do not realize that I have a Patreon at all. 

  2. Not quite comfortable putting this on the official patreon itemized inventory of rewards yet, but I do plan to add it once I’ve managed to stream for a couple of weeks in a row.