Episode 81

Mae Beale and Using Open Source for Good


June 18th, 2021

36 mins 30 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Mae Beale


Eric Berry | Richard Littauer

Show Notes

TRIGGER WARNING: There is a mention of blood in this episode.

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. Being surrounded by beautiful mountains is wonderful, but even more wonderful is our guest today, Mae Beale, who is the Engineering Manager for True Link Financial, Vision and Operations Strategist for Title Track Michigan, and the Founder and CEO of Beale Street Software. Today, you will find out about Mae’s involvement and the many hats that she wears working for True Link Financial, Title Track Michigan, and Ruby for Good. Also, we learn about some of the projects she’s built and others she’s involved in, which are Mutual Aid, Voices of Consent, and Terrastories. Mae shares some awesome stories and advice, so go ahead and download this episode now to hear much more!

[00:01:20] Mae tells us about True Link Financial and Title Track Michigan.

[00:04:47] Eric wonders if acknowledging or giving thanks for the land that I’m on is really common where Mae lives, and she explains the culture behind it.

[00:07:21] Mae shares her thoughts with us on the topic of how people talk about laziness a lot in our industry.

[00:11:38] We learn about the work that Mae is doing with Ruby for Good.

[00:13:41] Mae tells us what kind of projects she has built through Ruby for Good, such as diaper and essential needs for diaper banks and an animal shelter.

[00:15:18] Eric asks Mae to talk about if you want to get involved, what type of commitment is required, if it’s open for volunteers and to whatever extent they can contribute, the typical contributor that she sees in this program, and if you have to be a Rubyist to do this.

[00:17:04] Richard brings up problems with open source such as how to choose the right project, how to fund this work long-term, how to avoid vendor lock-in for the non-profits and now have to use this code that was made for them. Mae shares her thoughts and also mentions a great project called the Terrastories Project.

[00:20:32] Mae tells us her views on how to stop young person burnout.

[00:22:26] We learn about two more projects Mae is involved in, Voices of consent and Mutual Aid.

[00:27:22] Mae talks about how doing a better job of verbalizing could help with interpreting what’s happening, and she tells us a great analogy.

[00:29:30] Mae tells us about Mutual Aid and how you can get involved.

[00:31:38] Find out where you can follow Mae and see her work on the internet.


[00:02:56] “And rights of the water itself. So, there’s a lot of different efforts similar to how companies became people. There is precedent for natural spaces to becoming people are entities that have their own rights. So, the protection is on behalf of the lake itself.”

[00:06:34] “That’s generally my MO is I have a high sensitivity to the way in which the language that we use and the things that we focus our attention on shape who we are and how we are to each other.”

[00:07:05] “But, acknowledging what is happening that makes one uncomfortable is something I try to be willing to share and willing to receive.”

[00:08:34] “But, calling it lazy it is in my opinion, problematic and communicates things to other people, amongst ourselves and to other people, that don’t disclose our awareness of our privilege.”

[00:10:00] "But, sometimes, part of language adjustments over time that we’re always trying to do is the difference between intent and impact.”

[00:15:52] “So, there really is no average contributor we’ve had in the repos I’ve been involved in.”

[00:21:39] “There’s people who like to be in community and so there’s a lot we get out of it that isn’t just coding.”

[00:26:29] “And we operate as if relationships are Boolean states, and if we can shift that to being able to engage and build trust and build understanding then we can get somewhere.”

[00:30:12] “Mutual Aid also includes a political arm of taking a political stance in that it’s not charity. There’s a phrase, “Solidarity - not charity.”


  • [00:33:11] Eric’s spotlight is Bridgetown.
  • [00:34:14] Richard’s spotlight is EMA: The Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association.
  • [00:35:00] Mae’s spotlight is Ruby for Good.



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