I am proud to announce that as of July 1st, I have joined the NumFOCUS staff full time. My role is being generously funded by the Sloan Foundation as part of our Sustainability Grant. It is the first time in the six years of working on NumFOCUS that I will receive pay for this work and signals an important moment in our organization.
The board has asked me to continue to work as the President of the Board and oversee the activities of the staff. Thus my title doesn’t change but my role will have a significant shift. This time allows me to focus efforts on new initiatives for growing the revenue streams of the organization. Our Executive Director Leah Silen and I will work together to manage all the projects and priorities for the organization.
Meeting the Challenge
Our boards and advisors have approached me with a challenge. While our annual report shows substantial growth over the last few years and we are managing roughly $4M, there is still not enough funding to hire developers to help maintain our ecosystem. While there are billions of dollars spent on scientific software, very little of this is seen by open source developers. The group challenged me with a goal of raising and managing $100M for scientific software. They asked me to apply the skills I’ve learned starting businesses for venture capital to NumFOCUS. While we all agreed that $100M is the goal, we also recognize that going from $4M to $100M in a short time is a bit ambitious. Thus I’m using the grant from Sloan to bootstrap the next phase to build NumFOCUS revenue substantially higher.
New NumFOCUS Initiatives
With that said, we have four initiatives we are starting:
1) Community Roadmapping, helping our projects and stakeholders work together to build a sustainable ecosystem
2) Master Training Programs; our community does a lot of cool things and we want to help them teach other
3) Open Source Auditing, helping companies and scientists show their support to the community and use of tools that are at the forefront of reproducible science
4) Cloud Infrastructure Services; our projects need things like JupyterHub and CI and so do industry partners. By building better infrastructure for ourselves, we can offer it to the community as well.
Additionally, I’ve been charged with leading the team to build a model for fair sharing of developer time between all our projects once we succeed in raising our revenues.
How You Can Help
It’s an exciting time and I’m very excited to get started working. If your company makes use of NumFOCUS tools, please talk to your team about supporting their long-term sustainability. Download our Corporate Sponsor Prospectus or view our Sponsor Benefits, and email
to set up a call with us.