Gittip has doubled for the third time in just over a year. On January 3, 2013, we moved $1,425. Using that as the base, here’s what doubling means:
Today, we moved $11,683. That means our dollar volume has doubled three times in a little over a year. Here are the actual numbers:
Our number of active users is growing slower than our dollar volume. This makes sense because we have more companies giving on Gittip than we did a year ago, and they are generally able to give more than individuals. For example, &yet announced a program in November (they’re currently our top giver), and Engine Yard stepped forward this past week.
From our charts page:
We mark time from week 31 because that’s when our founder, Chad Whitacre, started working on Gittip full-time and building a team in earnest. You can see that growth was relatively stagnant prior to then, except for an initial burst, and a small bump that turned out to be fraud.
It took 18 weeks for our dollar volume to double once, 17 weeks to double again, and 23 weeks to double the third time. We chalk up the slight slowdown in growth to the fact that we released no user-facing updates to the site in the fourth quarter of 2013. Instead, we focused on technical infrastructure and team-building. Our Company Retreat in early January demonstrated the success of our team-building efforts, and marked a return to user-facing changes.
Since the retreat, we’ve released the following user-facing improvements:
We’ve also improved our customer support system, as well as continuing to improve our developer experience. We’ve soft-launched a major redesign project to engage the design community in Gittip and build a truly world-class, user-friendly product.
On average, we’re doubling our volume every four or five months. If we continue at this rate, we’ll hit $22,800 by June or July, and we should pass $100,000 per week sometime in the spring of 2015.
Thanks for using Gittip, and stay tuned! :-)
On February 4, 2014, we leaked security tokens for the Venmo accounts of 41 Gittip users, which an attacker could have used to steal money. We discovered the leak on February 7, whereupon we stopped the leak and notified Venmo. Venmo revoked the affected security tokens, and has confirmed that no transactions were made using these tokens.
For details, please see the incident repository, which was private while the incident was underway and has been made public with this disclosure.
On January 4, 2013, we announced that Gittip is hiring. Exactly one year later, 20 participants in our open company gathered together in person for the first ever Gittip company retreat. One participant travelled from the Czech Republic, and another from Trinidad. The rest were from Canada and throughout the United States. Only seven were from the Pittsburgh area.
Row 1 (left to right): Christopher Clarke, P.J. Jimenez, Joe Esposito, Nik Markwell. Row 2: Zbyněk Winkler, Christy Leonardo, Carl Levinson, Bruce Adams, Luke Strickland. Row 3: Chad Whitacre, Jocelyn Graf, Lyndy Palmer, Sean Linsley. Row 4: Heidi Gardner, Oscar Sanchez, John Rubino. Not pictured: Pat Connolly, Aaron Lloyd, Angel Vagias, Kim Zick.
Meeting around a dining room table in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, the first item on our agenda was to review Gittip’s Mission and Vision Statements, and our Product Overview. Our Mission and Vision are broad statements of our reason for existing, and speak to a goal much larger than day-to-day operations:
Gittip’s mission is to redeem the economy.
We envision a future in which the economy is characterized by trust, collaboration, cooperation, sharing, openness, transparency, care for one another, inclusion, inspiration, purpose, generosity, patience, empathy, optimism, and love.
Our Product Overview became the document we spent the most time refining. It is incorporated into the 2014 redesign project plan that we’re now developing in the wake of the retreat.
We agreed to order these aspects of the website to reflect their level of importance: Giving, Profiles, Teams, and Communities. This led to a decision to prioritize our work together where all of our tasks are evaluated based on their relationship to Giving and the ease with which a participant is able to give, especially for the first time. This distillation and focus generated assent and enthusiasm among the team members present and helped us through more arduous tasks, like agreeing on a system for prioritizing our GitHub issues.
Saturday’s conversations gave way to hacking on Saturday night and throughout Sunday and into the following week. One team went through all 450+ issues in our issue tracker, prioritizing all of them according to the scheme we came up with together. Another team started thinking through the onboarding flow for new givers. A third team worked on the onboarding flow for new developers via Vagrant.
The most important work of the retreat, however, was in cementing relationships amongst the team. Here we succeeded mightily. Participants were reluctant to leave: by Wednesday we still had five folks hanging out and hacking!
Saturday’s sessions were video-taped and posted to YouTube. These videos don’t begin to capture the full collegial spirit of the retreat, yet we post them here in the interest of openness:
Next year’s retreat is scheduled for January 2-5, 2015.
Update: Here is a report on the finances for the retreat:
We launched our Communities feature seven months ago, in May, 2013, to assist Gittip members in finding—and inspiring—one another. Communities allow individuals to identify with large groups of people that share common interests, such as programming languages and geographical regions.
Communities have shown us that they’re more than just a number of people with common interests, though. Three months ago, the Drupal Community rallied to help a major Drupal contributor meet a significant weekly income goal. Community support is integral to the survival of projects like this. Without it, overhead costs like bandwidth and hosting become cost prohibitive and a significant financial burden to the project. Without financial support, many projects like this would not be possible.
In fact, a user who joins a community on Gittip is three times as likely to be an active user of Gittip than one who doesn’t. Because it’s clear that this feature makes Gittip more useful, we look forward to finding ways of adding even more value to the community experience on Gittip.
There are currently 18 fully active communities on Gittip. Communities with fewer than 150 members are still considered in the formation stage, but many are growing quickly. As of December 2013, there are about 700 Communities still in the formation stage, so there is literally something for everybody. Browse the list. You’re likely to find an interest you share with others.
Gittip founder Chad Whitacre participated in an open call with 37signals partner and Ruby on Rails founder David Heinemeier Hansson today. The call came about after David wrote a blog post three weeks ago, “The perils of mixing open source and money.” When he was subsequently introduced to Gittip, it kicked off a lengthy Twitter conversation that resulted in a response from Chad, followed by an invitation from David “to have a longer discussion about this in person at some point.” Thomas Fuchs kicked off another round of conversation 10 days ago, followed by a third round yesterday.
The basic topic of the conversation is how crowdfunding affects open-source. Open-source (like journalism) has achieved a delicate balance, where the parties involved know what the rules are, where the money stops and the open-source love (or the journalistic integrity) begins. This boundary is messy at times, but it’s been more or less thoroughly explored and is well-understood by those involved. Crowdfunding upsets this stasis. Does crowdfunding corrupt open-source by introducing extrinsic motivation? Does it crowd out the intrinsic motivation that lies at the heart of open-source?
Here is the video of the call: