My Journey to OSS Sponsorship


This post is going to serve as somewhat of a live journal/documentation of my journey as I am just beginning the trek, and honestly haven't a clue as to if/how this will work, but here it goes...

It's often been said that if you follow your passion, money will follow... and similar, all with the point that making money should fall as secondary to the craft itself. And while I appreciate that line of thinking, the truth is that out in the real world, we all are "victim" by varying degrees to plain economics. When it comes time to lay our head on a pillow at night, or wash our behinds in the morning before or after having that delicious first fresh brewed cup of Java... the fact remains that SOMEONE (likely us) had to pay for those luxuries.

It's been a bit over a year since developing NiM and during that time I've received a whopping $0 in donations. Not really enough for any measure of coffee from where I'm from, unless you count those tiny free sample cups at the likes of Sprouts/Trader Joes... which are great by the way (thank you respectively to each of them).
Sprouts'/TJ's free coffee

Yet, I must admit that if joy/excitement were currency, I'd be a rich man. However, "sustainability" is the key word right now and I'm not sure how sustainable the current situation is.

NiM is growing at a steady pace currently at over 17,000 users (which in this case means Node.js developers). There are a number of feature additions I'd like to see added to the project. Blasting developers with ads, while to be honest has crossed the back of my mind, isn't an option. Neither is charging for the extension. Being a fan of Software Engineering Daily, it's listening to Jeff and watching him grow his business that really put the whole idea of sponsorship in my head.

Sponsorship to the Rescue

So my initial thought is to go after the top users of Node.js, and NiM Exactly what that meant before I searched for "companies using node.js" didn't really occur to me. Does it mean companies with the largest market capitalization, largest number of employees, largest user base... all of which of course utilize Node.js in their technology stack. I guess I'll settle on high profile companies in whatever way that term applies. I decided to start by taking the number one Google search result and using it as a basis from which to search NiM analytics for matches. This is what I found...


Google Sheets

During my search of analytics data I came across a lot of other companies that I wasn't searching for and decided to include them in the chart as you can see in blue with Amazon leading the pack (there was no logic to the ordering of things). I thought about spending some time digging into finding out a rough approximation of the size of each companies developer teams, however that was gonna take quite a bit of time. So, without knowing that information I will forgo knowing percentages. I am however wondering if this is the type of way I'd feel upon knowing the percentages...


Having already written a sponsorship letter using some of the fine examples on-line, my next task is to find out WHO at these organizations I need to reach out to.

Analytics data can help by providing the email address of developers using NiM at each of these companies, which is a start.  I am a bit unsure of how any message will be received by the NiM user community and of whether or not sending an email solicitation for such help as is required is okay... or not?!  How else do I find out who the gatekeeper or individual inside of the company responsible for handling sponsorship spending is?

The next function that I need to write is exactly HOW to find the gatekeepers within these organizations. As I currently can't think of any direct contacts inside any of these companies, outside of the email addresses of NiM users that analytics provides, this next step may otherwise prove challenging... So do I craft a brief yet direct email and send it to these users? Or find alternate means? Any ideas?