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Convince Your Boss

Talking About Open Source With Your Boss

Getting paid to create open source is a rare opportunity at almost every company. We’ve written this documentation to make the scary and difficult prospect of talking to your manager or business leader a little bit easier.

Consider the text below, written in an email form, as a template. We have provided some common arguments to invest in open source to persuade your boss. You should take out what you think does not apply, and include more context as you feel inspired. Replace any values noted “REPLACE_ME” below to avoid some awkwardness.

For any non-Wayfair Employee, take extra care to edit direct references to Wayfair


Dear {REPLACE_ME},

I’d like to start contributing to open source as part of my usual job responsibilities. I’d like to start by experimenting with one day per week spent working on a project that I feel is important to our team. I’ve identified that {REPLACE_ME} is a great way to get started, and I want to share some reasons why I specifically want to do open source work.

Some of the world’s most successful tech companies like Netflix, PayPal, and Facebook attribute at least part of their success to their open source presence. I believe that Wayfair has a wealth of technical talent and excellence that could attract people to join our team as these large firms do. We can do this both by contributing to existing open source and/or by putting some of our successful internal projects on GitHub.

A notable example of a project that was made open source and escalated a company’s notoriety in the development world is Google’s development of Android. A project that has taken over nearly all mobile phones on the planet, started as an open source project from Google. While not every investment can live up to that standard; the point that open source can benefit from many contributions for both the company and the contributors stands tall from the example.

I’m invigorated by our organizational commitment to open source as well. According to the competencies we use to evaluate performance, as well as some of our stated goals within teams, our technology staff should commit to open source when suitable opportunities and technologies present themselves. By committing to dedicated time working on open source, our team can stand out in the organization. I believe for the needs of our team, we should make regular time to contribute to {REPLACE_ME}.

While I think contributing to {REPLACE_ME} has value to the company, and to our team recognition, this is also an opportunity for my own growth. Working in a community of new folks, following industry standard contributing guides and merging workflows out in the open, and contributing to something I care about; that makes me a more fulfilled professional. It gives me a better grounding for the work I need to do at Wayfair.

I’m interested to hear back from you on anything or everything in this mail. I would like to figure out a way to get started in a reasonable timeframe.


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