Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.



It’s September, which is that time when everything ramps up again. It’s back to school, it’s starting-new-things, it’s looking at all the “stuff” that’s filling the calendar between now and the end of the year.

And so, I get to say “Hello” and introduce the Special Projects and Decentralized Engineering Company, or SPADE for short. Together with Brooke Zelenka, we have founded SPADE as a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation[^delawarepbc], and will be running a variety of technology, open source, and community projects through it.

Making Open Source Work

“Making Open Source Work” is the big headline you’ll see on the website. It has multiple meanings, and we mean all of them :)

We want to have companies, projects, and individuals as our partners and customers. We want to deliver back-office and community support. We want to help make projects successful. And sustainable.

We want to be a friendly, aligned corporate wrapper that lets projects of all kinds plug in to the “real world”, and supports individuals around the world to make open source their work.

The arc of the universe bends towards open source

My first startup was Bryght, a company working on commercializing Drupal, an open source CMS. I helped grow the Drupal community, was part of founding the Drupal Association, and learned a lot from Open Source 1.0.

For my next decade, I worked on founding & funding, creating Bootup Labs, Canada’s first modern startup accelerator, running Full Stack, a small seed fund, and more projects and companies around frontier tech.

In just the past week, I’ve been excited by novel approaches to open source licensing & social contracts, the economics of OSS, and tons of activity around smart contract powered bounty systems.

We’ve gone from CVS to SVN to git and GitHub, and our old foe Microsoft that spread so much FUD around Open Source 1.0 aims to be the most open source company in the world.

BUIDL for Ethereum

The Ethereum Status Codes initiative (aka ERC1066, that Brooke began work on when we were both at Finhaven) was the trigger for getting started, and that’s where our first efforts will go into.

We’ve applied for a number of grants and programs and hope to add some team members and integrate into lots of other projects in the Ethereum ecosystem.

I’ve spent the summer getting more engaged with Ethereum, pouring a fair bit of energy into the Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians. I think there’s lots more to do here, and areas where my mix of community, operations, and business skills can be helpful.

Mission Driven

I discovered my personal mission was enabling anyone to publish online, through open source, self-hosting, and increased digital literacy. It’s been a long road, and it’s time to continue that mission.

From SPADE’s corporate charter, our purpose is to[^tweetpurpose]:

support individuals and teams who are working on open source software to run successful and sustainable projects

Please do check out the SPADE About page, which is the beginnings of what will become our Public Benefit Corporation Charter1.

Drop by the #lobby of the SPADE Discord server if you’re interested in chatting further about these type of topics.

  1. Did you know that Kickstarter is a Public Benefit Corporation? Their charter is inspiring.