When I first read Li Jin's seminal piece on the Passion Economy back in 2019, I remember legitimately jumping up and exclaiming to myself yesssssssss this is it! 🔥

Li was not only able to capture the essence of why I was building Saasify — she was also able to expand on my mission by articulating a broader trend that was happening for creators in general.

I immediately felt a deep connection to the zeitgeist Li was describing.

Ever since then, I've shared Li's message with dozens if not hundreds of people, albeit probably in a much less succinct and insightful way. 😂

So what did I do with this new burst of inspiration? Well, I spent the next year struggling to reconcile this view with my startup at the time, which was focused on building a passion economy solution for indie developers. And while I am very proud of everything we built with Saasify, the platform itself hit some major roadblocks. I had my founder blinders on (which can be both good and bad depending on the circumstances) and felt weighed down by the sunk costs I'd already put into bootstrapping Saasify.

I needed a change of pace. To reflect. To revisit my assumptions and to explore what got me excited about this space in the first place.

And that, folks, brings me to today

The idea of moving towards a more independent and fulfilling future of work just aligns so well with my values that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

I've spent the past few months voraciously researching, networking, and thinking about the passion economy. I think this is a very important step in the creative process for founders to develop their own deep, holistic understanding of a space before diving into building products and solutions (a mistake I've fallen prey to in the past).

And I'm absolutely loving it.

Regardless of where this journey takes me, I know that I'm thoroughly enjoying the ride. I believe that as long as I control my own destiny and am passionate about the space / journey / people, then great things are bound to happen along the way.

And this is a large part of why the passion economy resonates with me on such a deep and personal level.

Open Source Sustainability

After nearly 20 years of contributing to open source, I started this journey originally focused on the problem of open source sustainability.

For many software developers, open source is like the wild west. It represents a completely open territory to explore and paint my ideas upon with no rules or regulations. This has led to some unbelievably successful commercial open source products being built that would've otherwise been very difficult to bring to market in a more traditional, closed source world. It's also led to an amazing amount of long-tail value creation and experimentation in the form of smaller OSS projects that have found insane amounts of adoption around the world.

I think it's safe to say that open source software has had profound effects on the world, but as with many passion projects, the key difficulty lies in making your passion sustainable. When you start off working on a project, it's almost always out of intrinsic motivation; that is to say, it's because you're excited about something and want to scratch your own itch. As your project(s) grow in popularity and usage over time, you inevitably get more and more support requests and people complaining about bugs or missing features. What started as a purely intrinsic passion project has now become a burden, and the only real way to reconcile this problem is to introduce extrinsic motivation (usually in the form of money or followers) that will help you sustain your interest in growing a community around your work.

There are tens of thousands of these talented indie devs out there who are passionate about open source. And more generally, there are millions of talented creators out there who are passionate about their own creative outlets, whether they be music, videos, teaching, writing, art, comedy, and so much more.