Thoughts on joining Quansight Labs

In his blog post welcoming me, Travis set out his vision for pushing forward the Python ecosystem for scientific computing and data science, and how to fund it. In this post I'll add my own perspectives to that. Given that Quansight Labs' purpose, it seems fitting to start with how I see things as a community member and organizer.

A community perspective

The SciPy and PyData ecosystems have experienced massive growth over the past years, and this is likely to continue in the near future. As a maintainer, that feels very gratifying. At the same time it brings up worries. Core projects struggle to keep up with the growth in number of users. Funded development can help with this, if done right. Some of the things I would like to see from companies that participate in the ecosystem:

  • Explain innovations they're working on to the community and solicit input, at an early stage. Developing something away from the spotlight and then unveiling it as the "next big thing" once it's done usually leads to either corporate-driven projects (if users adopt it) or a short life span.
  • Participate in a sustainable way. This means for example to contribute in a way that lowers, or at least doesn't increase, the overall effort required for maintenance. Only sending pull requests with new features doesn't achieve that. Solving maintenance pain points or helping with code review does.
  • Operate transparently. Develop in the open, plan in the open, be clear about directions and motivations.

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