Connecting and Expanding through Open Source Collaboration — Chris Aniszczyk EP006

Chris Aniszczyk, COO of Cloud Native Computing Foundation and VP at Linux Foundation

In today’s episode we talk with Chris Aniszczyk. Chris is the COO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, aka the CNCF. We spoke with Chris on site at DockerCon 2017 in Austin, TX earlier this year about the CNCF Ambassador Program. CNCF is part of the Linux Foundation, of which he is a VP, and a home to many projects, including Kubernetes. Kubernetes is one of the fastest growing open source projects. We had a very interesting talk with Chris on how the ambassador programs of both the CNCF and Linux mirror other types of open source contributions, where participants themselves often have day jobs and work with commercial products based on open source projects. Chris also shares with us about open source culture and his extremely impressive involvement with CNCF, Linux and Twitter. The ambassador program at CNCF seeks to cultivate a worldwide community of people interested in spreading the notion of Cloud Native Computing.

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Key Takeaways

[3:02] Chris was at CNCF from the beginning, and served as interim Executive Director until they found a full time director. His other job at the Linux foundation is managing and directing open source communities. He currently serves as COO at CNCF and is responsible for bringing in healthy new projects and having great interactions with their technical community.

[3:56] Chris has been involved in many open source projects: the Apache Foundation, Twitter, Linux, CNCF.

[4:20] Chris talks about the role of the ambassador program for CNCF.

[4:46] Cloud Native is a relatively new kind of computing. The concept started with the Bay Area companies — Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. The goal of the ambassador program is to spread this notion all around the world.

[5:10] They help fund regional MeetUps for the ambassadors, hire speakers (there is a mini speakers bureau at CNCF), and grow the community outside of the originating zone.

[5:46] Some advice Chris has for those just getting off the ground — and are ways to discover people in your community already running groups.

[7:18] They require their ambassadors to either have hosted multiple relevant meetups, and/or spoken about the company about events or conferences, or contributed to existing projects. There is no formal requirement.

[9:18] CNCF ambassadors is about a year old.

[9:37] They invite ambassadors to the two large conferences annually, and communicate via Slack and mailing lists.

[10:20] There are about 25 in the program.

[10:36] Two advantages include recognition for them, and help hosting their MeetUps.

[11:57] They don’t really promote the products of specific vendors, they are solely interested in promoting the open source projects.

[13:46] Linux has about 130–140 employees. Then, each foundation within it also has other staff.

[14:40] They don’t know their final budget until they get their final members to sign up. They prefer to spend a percentage on marketing benefits, infrastructure, events, etc. This is separate from the technical governance or the “Technical Supreme Court.” Usually it’s about $250 allocated per MeetUp.

[18:05] Blogs are still a thing, but open source communities also communicate via Slack and GitHub. They have a program for community contributors for Kubernetes to help with the experience.

[20:40] Chris started his career early on at IBM and Eclipse, one of the first open source foundations. He was proud to be in the early days of that model.

[22:12] Eclipse and Linux have diversified and evolved. Chris is very proud of that!

[22:35] Chris started the open source program at Twitter. This helped other companies like Google share their program.

About our guest

Chris Aniszczyk is an engineer by trade with a passion for open source and building communities. At Twitter, he created their open source program and led their open source efforts. For many years he served on the Eclipse Foundation’s Board of Directors representing the committer community and the Java Community Process Executive Committee. In a previous life, he bootstrapped a consulting company, made many mistakes, lead and hacked on many and Linux related projects. He is now the COO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and VP of Developer Programs at The Linux Foundation.

Mentioned In This Episode

The Influence Marketing Podcast, a podcast brought to you by the Influence Marketing Council, an industry council for B2B brands who innovate in influencer, advocacy, and community marketing. Your hosts, John Mark Troyer and Kathleen Nelson Troyer, are co-founders of the IMC. The Influence Marketing Podcast is part of the research program of the IMC. For more information, go to