How to encourage subscriptions?


Like a lot of maintainers, I have friends who work at other companies. Those companies could be Tidelift subscribers. I’m not sure whether those connections are good ways to encourage those companies to become subscribers.

Does Tidelift have a recommended playbook for this situation? Should I ask my friends to try to get XYZCorp to subscribe? Or should I ask Tidelift if XYZ is already a subscriber first? Or should I let Tidelift push for more subscribers in some kind of business-to-business way? Or is it fine for everyone to do what they can?


You read our minds, @nedbat - this is going to be me, @ksz, and @brenna 's biggest focus in 2019.

There are no easy answers, of course. Sales is never easy, especially when you want to keep the deep trust of the people you’re selling to! But we’ll be sharing a lot more in coming weeks: better explanations of how the subscription works (and how you are part of the value of it), thoughts on how you can identify the most likely subscribers among your users, etc. We want y’all to be part of the team on this and realize we hadn’t been helpful on that at all.

We’d love to work with you on it, so keep an eye out for us to share a lot of work in progress stuff :slight_smile:

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OK, that’s good to hear.

If I said, “I’m going to reach out to my friend at XYZCorp this week,” would your response be?:

  • Great, let us know how it goes
  • Hold off until we can support you with more materials
  • It’d be better if you made an introduction for us to do the sales job
  • Give us some time to decide what the best course of action is
  • Some thing else…

Hi @nedbat,

I can help with that. I know that @brenna and @luis are working on a set of materials to help share with your network, and I can directly help you with some quick sound-bites and a pdf or two for this week.

I DM’ed you my email, so let’s start a thread and we can take it from there.


It may not be easy to understand what Tidelift is unless you’re an open source developer. In my country open source is taken for granted, and here the problem statement, the data and Tidelift positioning with vision needs to be carefully explained.

Let’s explore my position as an open source developer. Here Tidelift helps to supporting myself, and also my friends, who are not being hired by a company. Spending time outside of business environment can be helpful to learn new things in the flow, spending time inside can also bring new experience, tools and workflows. In the company you have money, outside we have some free time and a lot of communication, networking and connections. Open source developers are valuable because they tend to best practices, and if a company wants to attract them, they need to propose an open source policy. The policy could keep person connected to community, but that doesn’t work, because company work and open source maintenance compete for people time. Realistic plan is to compensate community for the “lost” member. But why company would be doing this?

Attracting new people into company is important to make its culture thrive. Open source culture is much more beneficial for the company than those that encourages job security. Tidelift raises attractiveness of the company, and it is not only that. Tidelift support is a confirmation of fact, that the supporting company is good at doing business, because it has the resources to voluntary support their open source infrastructure (as opposed to infrastructure support through taxation).

This is the easy, Level 1 maturity level of successful business. It attracts people to join. And there is more that could be done. As an open source developer joining a company I am more curious. Will my open source community experience a positive outcome from me joining the company? How measurable this outcome will be? Will that be enough to keep the community alive?

Level 2 is the transparency - how much are we taking, and how much are we giving back. Successful investment funds like Medallion reinvest (return) their earning back to economics, because if they extract everything, it will impair the ecosystem. It is like seeding crops again after the harvest. In open source the value is code, and code is alive as long as it occupies the heads of its maintainers.

Thinking about people inside, beyond CSR policy, is Level 3 of business maturity. Who are the people who support open source support inside of company, which projects do they value, why it is important for them.

Level 4 is reaching out - getting know the people behind open source, know their needs. If I can address the needs of my friends who maintain open source projects that I use daily while I am busy closing tasks day to day, company gives me the tools and supports me there, then I will highly unlikely to leave the company that eliminates this disturbance in my comfort zone.