Free sponsorship model is not sustainable

In the last issue of iOS Dev Weekly, Dave Verwer talks about how hard it is to get sponsorship for their Swift Package Index. This mirrors my experience with free open source work: it's not financially sustainable.

My case

Let's take my case as an example: I've been developing OSS for 10+ years and have over 20 projects. I spent over 5,000 hours working on those projects. Over 80,000 apps use them, and given the average size of native project teams, I can confidently say that more than 100,000 developers are using them.

Yet the only commercial sponsor I got is Airbnb at 100 USD / Month. Outside of that, in the last ten years, my total sponsorship has added up to 691 USD.

691 USD, which means my effective hourly rate was 0.13 USD / h.

Maintaining one project is already a lot of work, but supporting multiple ones is equal to a full-time job.

I didn't do any of my community work to earn money, but I realized the older I get, the harder it is to justify sacrificing personal time for free work, yet I want to keep open sourcing and writing. I have a lot of projects I've not shared publicly yet, but I need a more sustainable model for them.

I am trying out sponsorware model.

I've decided I'm going to offer premium content to paid subscribers. That way, I can spend more time sharing new ideas and projects without sacrificing my income.

As a paid subscriber:

  • you'll get product discounts (or free for the baller option) and access to new products and courses like Sourcery Pro.
  • get access to premium articles and insights from my R&D efforts

If my tools/articles have saved you time, consider becoming a paid subscriber.

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