Episode 135

Tracy Hinds on Node.js's CommComm and PMs in Open Source


August 26th, 2022

35 mins 37 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Tracy Hinds


Richard Littauer | Ben Nickolls

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We are very excited with our guest today, Tracy Hinds, who’s currently the CEO and Founder of Crow & Pitcher and serves as a CFO and board director at the Open Source Initiative. She’s also a long-time open source practitioner, maker, creator, and a powerful woman of glory, and has founded tons of different communities. Tracy is also a non-profit leader, a career transitioner, and a forever conflict manager. Today, we’ll learn more about Crow & Pitcher and the Community Committee (CommComm) in the Node.js Foundation. Also, we’ll hear Tracy’s thoughts on what she thinks the role is for Product Managers, Program Managers, and Project Managers in open source. Go ahead and download this episode to learn more!

[00:02:05] Tracy tells us more about her journey to becoming the Founder of Crow & Pitcher.

[00:04:25] Since Tracy was instrumental is the Node.js community for setting up Community Committee (CommComm), she tells us more about it.

[00:09:25] Tracy mentions how having an understanding board is essential to the health of the organization.

[00:12:51] We hear Tracy’s thoughts on how she feels about the role for Product Managers, Program Managers, and Project Managers in open source.

[00:16:19] Ben wonders if there was any work within CommComm to try and create that separation and is that something Tracy thinks is more of a challenge within open source. Tracy explains the criticism about core contributors not being open to input.

[00:19:58] We hear Tracy’s thoughts on what she thinks is the best way to talk to someone to let them know you want to be in a Project Manager role or Product Management role.

[00:23:56] Ben wonders what can people do who are working in a code centric open source project, to make themselves and their work more open and amenable to people that come in a more product management or project management capacity?

[00:27:24] Find out the difference between a Product Manager, Project Manager, and Program Manager.

[00:30:47] Tracy tells us where you can follow her online.


[00:08:12] “Everyone gets broken down by the amount of work and ambition in open source.”

[00:11:07] “I kind of love when things get deprecated because one, it means people are paying attention enough to notice you don’t need these things anymore, and it means that things are still changing, and I think that’s an important sign in a project.”

[00:14:06] “I think it’s really interesting to think of many open source projects as products.”

[00:18:30] “Every project needs documentation and people being compensated for documentation.”

[00:20:40] (On how to get a role as PM in OSS): “It helps to clarify a problem.”

[00:21:13] “They need to build trust.”

[00:25:02] “A lot of people have open source code projects, but not open collaboration.”

[00:28:58] “You’re the goalie.”


  • [00:31:42] Ben’s spotlight is making a Swamp Cooler.
  • [00:32:12] Richard’s spotlight is Bryan Hughes.
  • [00:33:00] Tracy’s spotlight is her exposure to JSConf’s bringing her to where she is today.



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