Episode 47

People and Relationships with Matt Asay


July 31st, 2020

41 mins 43 secs

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About this Episode

Hello and welcome to Sustain! On today's episode, we have special guest, Matt Asay, Cloud and open source executive with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Matt tells us how his office is different from the Open Source program office. We will learn all about his career and his HTML5 start-up Strobe that was acquired by Facebook. Also, Matt talks about some interesting things he's learned from interviewing project maintainers and it has to do with the importance of being nice, kind, and welcoming.

Download this episode now for some great inspiration and advice.

[00:00:58] Matt tells us the difference between the two offices and teams and also how he ended up in his role.

[00:05:09] With the focus on what your customers are doing, Justin asks Matt how does how does he address the controversies like the MongoDB API and all that other stuff and what is he doing to combat that?

[00:12:22] Here we will hear all about Matt's impressive career and his HTML5 start-up Strobe acquired by Facebook.

[00:16:59] Matt tells us about interviewing project maintainers and things that have stood out during the interview process after talking to them.

[00:25:00] Matt explains what the key to sustainability is and he goes into risk sustainability.

[00:28:10] Richard gives some really good feedback on Matt's answer on how he solves problems and Matt says he is going to steal one of his answers.

[00:32:39] Richard asks Matt what is he doing with his team, what do your partnerships look like with CouchDB and Confluent, and what are you doing to make sure that the work you have lasts beyond you?

[00:37:48] Matt tells us where we can find out more about him on the internet.


  • [00:39:30] Justin's spotlight is arweave.org.
  • [00:39:56] Richard's spotlight is the IPFS stack.
  • [00:40:30] Matt's spotlight is an interview he did with Hugh "Jim" Bailey at OBS (Open Broadcaster Software).


  • Richard Littauer
  • Justin Dorfman


  • Matt Asay


[00:06:00] "So I've always worked for those companies. It's always been an easy marketing sell for me to talk about that. But, with AWS it's different."

[00:06:46] "The whole open source definition is around distributing software, but we're not distributing software anymore. It's being consumed as a service over the internet."

[00:07:35] "I used to work at MongoDB. I love MongoDB. It's one of the best working experiences I've ever had."

[00:10:42] "I have a lot of respect for people, these virtuoso engineers who develop great software. But I have just as much respect for those who can operationalize and make that software easy so that customers don't have to worry about how they're going do maintenance on my SQL, as an example."

[00:16:16] "If you want to successful you've got to figure out how to work with people."

[00:17:54] "You reflect the kind of community that you will encourage. And so, if you're a jerk, then you're going to struggle."

[00:18:03] "This is their free time. They're volunteers. They don't have to show up and be abused by you."

[00:20:17] "In general, life's too short to be dealing with mean people all the time."

[00:20:32] "If you're rude to those volunteers they're going to go elsewhere, and in open source, those contributors are your most valuable asset."

[00:25:00] "So I think one of the keys to sustainability has to be community."

[00:27:44] "I think that's something we need to figure out because open source is only getting more and more significant with more and more dependencies on it."

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