Building a team is as vital for Gittip as it is for any other company, but Gittip is an open company, which means (in part) that Gittip doesn’t compensate its employees. The idea is that people working on Gittip are volunteers who give their work away as a gift. Maybe they receive reciprocal gifts, maybe this happens on Gittip itself, but there’s no guarantee, no salary. This goes for myself, the founder of Gittip, as well. I’m not making a profit on Gittip, only receiving gifts like everyone else.
Without traditional compensation, the incentives Gittip can offer to employees are rather different. Here are some reasons I can think of to join the Gittip team:
Find a nice living. While I can’t offer you a salary, I will note that I personally receive about $150 per week in gifts on Gittip. That’s not yet enough to live on in Pittsburgh, USA, but it would go further in Hyderabad, India. At this stage in Gittip’s growth, funding your life via Gittip is a real possibility for someone in the right part of the world. My personal goal is to fully fund my life via Gittip within 18 months.
Learn. Education is changing, and apprenticeship is in the air. Working on a real web app with experienced programmers would be a great way to learn how to program and start building your reputation.
Support your open source habit. I had a Skype call with Mike Bayer the other day. He’s the author of the SQLAlchemy library, which Gittip uses. I realized during our call that I was basically trying to recruit him to be in charge of Gittip’s data layer. If Gittip were a traditional company I would have been offering him a salary and benefits and stock options, but Gittip’s not a traditional company. Instead, what I can offer Mike and others like him is the chance to build a platform that can eventually sustain his work on the project he loves, SQLAlchemy. I’ve got my own favorite open- source project, a web framework called Aspen. The idea of getting to work freely on Aspen was one of my inspirations for starting Gittip in the first place.
Have fun. I love Gittip. It’s deeply innovative and it’s got tons of potential and I’m really eager and excited to push it hard. I want you to share my joy. :-)
Work without a boss. Since you’ll essentially be a volunteer, I’ll never be able to coerce you to do something you don’t want to do. We’ll be partners freely collaborating to build Gittip together.
Change the world. Startups commonly talk about disrupting industries. Gittip sets the plow even deeper: with the open company model, we’ll be disrupting industry itself. That sounds like baloney; I actually believe it. There are some innovative workplaces practicing various forms of industrial democracy—Semco, W.L. Gore & Associates, Mondragon, Lincoln Loop, etc. Gittip dials this to eleven. Gittip is the most innovative company on the planet right now. If we pull this off, Gittip is going to have a far-reaching and unpredictable impact on our world.
Gittip’s immediate need is for:
- Developers. The stack is Python-based; see the README.
- Visual and user interface designers.
- Community advocates. This encompasses both marketing and customer support.
What “Hired” Means
“Hired” means we list you on the “About” section of the Gittip website as being part of the Gittip team.
You will have no formal obligations, as discussed above. The informal expectation is that you’ll be spending a good chunk of your life and energy building Gittip. Right now I’m spending about half my time, for example. If and when you end up lessening your commitment, we’ll simply unlist you from the Gittip website after a discussion with the whole Gittip community. No hard feelings. :-)
Gittip will continue to have a lively community of people occasionally participating in discussions and contributing code. What I’m looking to do here is build a core team of people working heavily on Gittip.
How to Apply
Create a new issue on GitHub introducing yourself and suggesting that we hire you. We’ll review these on a rolling basis, and decisions about who to hire and when will be open to the whole Gittip community to participate in. If you have questions first, hit me up at @whit537 on Twitter.
I look forward to your application! :-)
Chad Whitacre is the founder of Gittip.