Café Jana: Interviews with OGs in open source

Ok! I’ve finally figured out what’s next for Café Jana.

This year, I started working a lot with founders building startups using the open-core model, and it has sparked my interest in diving into the history of open source. Understanding history helps inform how we got here and where we’re going. Having lived in San Francisco from 2008 to 2017 and worked at companies like Engine Yard, New Relic, and HashiCorp gave me a front row seat to parts of this history. So I decided to take my research and quest public by having discussions with well-respected people in the open source world. Though I’m technically not ‘technical,’ I’ve built deep relationships with the developer community by being empathic and authentically engaging with people. I’ve been lucky enough to create a career out of it.

With this video series, I want to dive into the ethos of open source. Why people contribute, how they got their start, and what keeps them going. I want to understand who these people are and what drives them. Of course, coffee will be part of the discussion. Don’t come here for deeply technical content; come here for all the feels. :-P

I got my start in tech and the open source world at a company called Engine Yard, which was a Ruby on Rails hosting startup. When I started there in 2009, we were direct competitors with Amazon Web Services with our own colo in Sacramento where we hosted our customers, GitHub was still a small company, New Relic and Heroku had just launched, and Ruby on Rails was at its height in popularity.

Engine Yard may no longer be relevant today, but it had a massive impact on open source and the Ruby on Rails ecosystem through the various OSS programs we ran. From hiring open source contributors full-time like Ryan Dahl, Yehuda Katz, Ezra Zygmuntowicz, and Evan Phoenix to sponsoring open source contributors like Mitchell Hashimoto, to work on Vagrant, (HashiCorp’s first open source tool) for a summer. More on this history when the GitHub ReadMe project comes out.

Jana, Leah Silber and Yehuda Katz in SF in 2010

After Engine Yard, I worked at New Relic for a few years building their community and events programs. I started working with HashiCorp in early 2015 when they were ten employees and left in January of this year after the IPO. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. Through the work I did for HashiCorp, I got a chance to meet and build friendships with incredible humans all over the world.

The first HashiConf in 2015

I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade. During that time, I lived in a house in Potrero Hill with friends we dubbed Casa Del Hax0r. We had an open-door policy where friends, whenever they were in town, would stop by. We always had a revolving crew of people sleeping on our futons. I can only imagine the friendships that were formed and the ideas that came from hanging out at the house. I wish we had kept a guestbook during that time to remember all the incredible developers that came through those doors. This was community building at its finest. I feel very lucky to have made the friends that I have over the years. Can’t wait to interview them live! Stay tuned for more info about Café Jana.

Atmos, Mathias Meyer and Ryan Tomayko in 2014
Oh: “These Jenga pieces remind me of Docker containers.” — Mathias
Weekend BBQ’s at Casa del Hax0r: Ben Burkert, Zach Holman, Cameron McEfee, LuckiestMonkey, Brian Mario, Tom Preston-Werner, and Ben Bleikamp in 2013
Blake Mizerany and Cinderella in 2013
Jana, Tim Carey-Smith, and Dylan Egen in 2011



Builder of developer communities. Ex-early at HashiCorp, from tenth employee thru IPO. Investor at TQ Ventures.

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Jana Iris

Builder of developer communities. Ex-early at HashiCorp, from tenth employee thru IPO. Investor at TQ Ventures.