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OCS 2020 Breakout: Kevin Xu

Kevin Xu is the author and founder of Interconnected, a bilingual newsletter exploring the intersections of tech, business, and geopolitics. He's an investor and advisor to commercial open source startups via OSS Capital. Previously, he was the General Manager of Global Strategy and Operations at PingCAP, a venture-backed open source database company. He studied law and computer science at Stanford, served in the White House and Department of Commerce during the Obama administration.

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Proposing 2, second-order metrics to track and improve to build a sustainable open source community

Introduction to topic: 2 metrics to track and improve in order to build a sustainable open-source community - 0:00

Introduction to Kevin’s background and work - 1:47

Presentation agenda - 3:00

2 Second Order Metrics: Pull Request / Merge Request reviewer breakdown, and Leaderboard of different community interactions (along with first-order metrics that are not that useful: stars, forks, PR/MR counts, # of contributors, # of commits) - 4:13

Why? Ownership and Incentive. PR/MR reviewer breakdown gives insight into the ownership of the project. Leaderboard of interactions gives insight into Incentive. Ownership + Incentive drives Sustainable Community over time. - 5:25

Discussing Maintainer Burnout - 7:34

Walking through example and metric visualizations: Using Apache Superset to analyze these metrics with Kong and Pulsar. - 9:14

Caveats and Differences (different age/maturity, different relationships with Apache Software Foundation means different processes, charts based on data from May 2018 - May 2020) - 9:44

Going into PR review distributions for Kong and Pulsar - 11:50

Going into leaderboards of community interactions for Kong and Pulsar - 15:43

DIY -- Apache Superset Tutorial (see: - 20:15

Deep Dive on COSS Media (see: - 21:28

Other Tips and Materials. High Quality Documentation, spend 10-20% of time writing documentation over time. Make CONTRIBUTING.MD a living document + killer feature. Set quality guidelines (there is such a thing as a ‘noisy contribution’. Responsibility is on creator/maintainer to define and enforce ‘quality.’) - 21:59

Stay in touch and contacts - 25:30

Share your questions and comments below!

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