I’m Dustin, and I have been a Python community member for more than 14 years. I have experience:
- advocating for the Python community
- working with Python organizations and working groups
- maintaining and contributing to Python projects
- organizing and participating in Python events
- operating non-profits
As a PSF board member, my priorities would include:
- diversification of funding
- investment in staff and infrastructure
- community advocacy
Together, I believe my experience and goals make me a valuable member of the PSF board.
Background & experience
For the last two years, I’ve worked at Google as a Developer Advocate, representing and supporting the Python community at Google. In that role, I do the following:
- Advocate for the Python community: When we build tools that people in the Python community will use, I help make sure those tools are right for those users
- Set general strategy for engaging with the Python community
- Create content for Python developers
- Serve as a general source of expertise at Google about Python and the community
- Lead a team of people who also work on Python advocacy at Google
This means that part of my job is to be deeply involved in the Python community, which I have been for a number of years, and continue to be.
I’m involved with the following Python organizations:
- Director of the PyTexas Foundation since 2019
- Conference chair of PyTexas in 2019 and 2020
- Member of the Python Packaging Working Group since 2016
- Member of the Python Packaging Authority since 2016
- Member of the Philly Python Users Group from 2014-2018
- Member of the the Austin Python Users Group since 2018
I’m involved with various Python projects, mostly related to Python Packaging:
- Maintainer and administrator of the Python Package Index since 2016
- Member of the team that relaunched the new pypi.org in 2018
- Maintainer of pypa/twine, pypa/packaging, pypa/readme_renderer (and more)
- Maintainer of pyvideo.org, packaging.python.org
- Contributor to pypa/pip, pypa/wheel, pypa/setuptools (and more)
- Contributor to python.org
I’ve authored three PEPs:
- PEP 566: Metadata for Python Software Packages 2.1 (2017, accepted)
- PEP 599: The manylinux2014 Platform Tag (2019, accepted)
- PEP 609: PyPA Governance (2019, pending)
I’ve spoken at a number of Python conferences:
- PyCon US (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- PyGotham (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
- FLPY (2017)
- PyTexas (2017)
- PyOhio (2018, 2019)
- SciPy (2018)
- PyCon Canada (2018)
- PyCarribbean (2019)
- PyCascades (2019)
- PyCon Taiwan (2019)
- PyCon Australia (2019)
- PyBay (2019)
- PyCon Latam (2019)
- PyCon Japan (2019)
- PyColorado (2019)
- PyCon UK (2019)
- DjangoCon US (2019)
- EuroPython (2019)
- PyCon DE (2019)
- PyBeach (2020)
I'm excited for the opportunity to bring my experience and dedication to the Python community to the PSF board. Below are the goals that I’d focus on as a board member of the PSF.
Diversification of funding
In 2019, I wrote:
"The PSF has one massive source of revenue (@pycon). In tech we call that "a single point of failure", and improving that would not only increase financial stability, but would also allow the PSF to direct more funding to more working groups, more events, etc." (Jun 7, 2019)
This year, we unfortunately experienced firsthand this single point of failure when PyCon 2020 was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. While the PSF staff and board have worked hard to reduce our dependence on PyCon, it still represents more than 60% of the PSF’s yearly income.
As a board member of the PSF, I’d work with the Finance Committee and the rest of the board to explore ways that the PSF can diversify its funding sources even further, such as:
- creating additional revenue-generating activities for the PSF, including educational activities, content and certification programs
- increasing the number of supporting (i.e. dues-paying) PSF members by increasing recognition of PSF members and benefits for members
- adding additional benefits to a PSF sponsorship that go beyond PyCon-focused benefits
- identifying how the various services that the PSF offers for free could produce revenue, within the bounds of our non-profit status
I have direct experience with non-profit fundraising, financial organization and planning as a board member of the PyTexas Foundation. I have experience finding funding from diverse sources, and directing that funding towards projects that will benefit the most from it as a member of the Packaging Working Group. I also have firsthand knowledge of what attracts sponsors to the PSF as a representative of one of its largest sponsors.
Investment in staff and infrastructure
I've seen first-hand how targeted investments in infrastructure can go a long way. For example, a relatively small but extremely focused investment of time and funding in PyPI led to a revitalization and relaunch of this piece of critical core infrastructure. As a result, PyPI has become far more reliable and usable by the wider community, and also more available for continued investment.
I believe that hiring dedicated staff, like our new accounting team, and creating new staff roles, such as the Director of Infrastructure, have helped the PSF grow, adapt to new challenges, and become more agile and more focused.
I also believe that the PSF can continue to improve how it serves its responsibilities to the community by adding additional staff to areas currently served by volunteers, contractors, or spread among existing PSF staff. These areas of responsibility include:
- Information experience, education, technical writing and documentation
- User experience, accessibility and product design
- Community management, marketing and communications
- Program management and product management
As a board member of the PSF, I would focus on adding staff that can improve how the PSF engages, educates and communicates with its community, as well as staff which allow the PSF to increase the number of potentially revenue-generating programs and activities it can pursue, and ensure that these activities are well-managed.
Overall, I’d ensure that these investments in staff and infrastructure continue and grow (dependent on the success of goals to diversify and increase funding), in order to make Python, the ecosystem around it and the organization behind it better for all Pythonistas: from core developers all the way down to the newest developers who just installed Python for the first time.
As a developer advocate, my day-to-day job is to identify and empathize with the needs of the Python community. My experience in this role has given me the ability to connect with a wide and diverse group of users, advocate on their behalf with their best interests in mind, and work with my wider team to find a way to solve their problems and bring about an improvement for those individuals. As a board member of the PSF, I’d do the same, collaborating with other board members to determine the best path forward.
As an advocate, I am tasked not just with understanding what my community needs, but also understanding what to do next with that information. As a board member of the PSF, this means that in addition to identifying a problem, I will also find solutions to that problem, and then turn those solutions into a result.
As a board member of the PSF, I’d also use this experience to increase advocacy on behalf of the Python community, ensuring that the actions of the board and the PSF as a whole are aligned with the community's needs. I’d do this by creating additional avenues for Python community members to interact with the PSF board members and express what challenges they face as community members, as well as increasing the visibility of the work the board is doing to the wider community.
I believe we are currently at a critical juncture in the path towards long-term success of the PSF, and that choices we make today will have a significant and lasting effect on the PSF of the future. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Python community as a board member of the PSF.
Thanks to Katie McLaughlin, Marlene Mhangami, Amanda Casari, and Sumana Harihareswara for reviewing drafts of this nomination statement.