Building sustainable FOSS Platforms

From DevSummit
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sustainability and open source platforms


tech4dev runs a whatsapp-based platform and was built from our CiviCRM experience.

What is a platform? Some related aspects:

  • A hub for data management that forms the center that integrates with connected systems and workflows.
  • A central software hub that can be extended and integrated into custom systems or workflows.
  • A system that meets 80% of the needs of 80% of the organizations.

Some examples:

  • CiviCRM
  • Drupal
  • Wordpress
  • Joomla

SoupBox: 16 years ago transitioned from building websites for non-profits to building a suite of apps. Donations, events, fundraising, shop, advocacy, forms. Now offer this as a SAAS (Software As A Service). In the past 6 years we have found our sweet spot in serving organziations who are using salesforce or microsoft, and value adding to the existing usage.

ActionKit: got bought out, slashed the staff by 50% overnight. First sold to NGPVan, then NGPVan was bought out by Bonterra.

Bonterra: they have gone around bought out competitors, deciding to either maintain or kill. They have a near monopoly on platform for Democratic Party political candidates.

Salesforce killed their non-profit success pack. There is a new offering that is paid.

Sustainability: projects like CiviCRM are mostly run as SAAS, which provides a steady income for development.

Glific: Whatsapp-based platform. Uses the whatsapp business API to allow people to manage their communications through whatsapp. They don't have any devops people, just use GUI control panels in hosting providers to maintain and scale database.

community/customer funded: discussion about the benefits of running a platform organization or business that does not depend on outside funding, either foundation money or venture capital investment.

Robinhood Foundation model: They fund a ton of local new york organizations, and they identify technology platforms that all their organizations need and they will dump money into investing in that platform (SoupBox etc).

Open source: mostly it seems that NGOs don't really care if something is open source or not, just care if it works, but foundations do increasingly seem to be paying attention to open source.

How to break into open source development: volunteer, write documentation, submit patches, apply to entry level jobs at small organizations to get exposure to different tech aspects, get a sense of what type of work you really enjoy before you specialize.