Unspeakable Open Source Stories: Priyanka Sharma

In open source communities, we get to know people every day. We probably know their current roles and responsibilities, but we don’t always have the perspective on the history, education, and career path that shaped them for who they are. These are some of the unspeakable open source stories.

We at the Linux Foundation are just weeks before launching a new podcast series, The Untold Stories of Open Source. For our blog readers, you have a preview of some of the stories that will begin in our series. Today we will share Episode 1 perspective Priyanka Sharma.



After graduation

Priyanka Sharma is an open source community power evangelist. True, he’s more out there, and we’ll get to that in a moment, but his passion and what drives all of his other open source successes is the power of an inclusive and supportive community.

Priyanka did not start as open source. After graduating with a degree in computer science from Stanford University in 2009, he began his career at Google in the online partner group, where he was a technical consultant for the integration of the new Double-click clients and act as interim project manager for internal analytics tools. After Google, he held positions at Really at ok daddy, including the inclusion of the Outright product in the GoDaddy Sales Catalog. However, he was bitten by a bug in building the business years ago. In 2014, he gathered some ideas and funding, experimented with consumer products, but nothing stuck.

One way to TechCrunch Disrupt

He realizes that his business partner has created a time tracking app for software developers for himself. It’s plugin based, so you can put it in your IDE and have tracking time at your fingertips. After all, who wants to keep track of time, so the easier the better.

All plugins are open source, which introduced him to the world of his residence. He noticed how people were attracted to plugins, customizing them to work better for their needs. He thought, “Maybe that’s what we should focus on.” So, on a path he can’t see coming, he went to developer tools. The plugins were eventually used by 100,000 developers, as demonstrated by TechCruch is annoyingand chosen by Y-Combinator.

go alone

But, as he says, “All that shines is not gold.” There are challenges every day just like any startup, from fundraising to public visibility. Entering Y-Combinator is an important moment, forcing the team to accept what it takes to work together to truly commit to the project together, as a team.

Priyanka reflected at the time, “I think you can surpass anything when you’re part of a team when you’re dancing with each other, where everyone is aligned with the result. When that’s not the case, this is very dangerous because each one is towards a different goal.This is the meta-problem that leads us to different paths.

Now on his own, he realizes that not many people understand marketing development tools or an approach to going to market for development tools. So he started working with quite heavy, an accelerator and an incubator of development products. “They really hired me and they gave me the opportunity to help their portfolio companies.” His work helped Rainforest QA, Not light, LaunchDarklyat Postman API.

Reflecting on Ben’s approach

He came to the Lightstep team because he not only saw value in their reputation, but he was attracted to the top team and what they could teach him. Part of the draw is stubborn, a tool designed by Google to provide developers with a distributed tracing system that detects the behavior of complex distributed systems. Dapper released many tools that its early developers did not intend. Ben Sigelmanco-creator of Dapper and of Open Tracking at OpenTelemetry projects, which are now part of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNF). “Ben’s approach is more of an educator. There are a lot of experts out there, but if they’re not interested in teaching, I don’t see any value in it.

As Lightstep’s second hire, he held a variety of roles including developer relations, marketing, documentation, and more.

The company’s first focus was on OpenTracing. At first, they were an independent open source project, but eventually they decided to join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to give them more firepower than “us on our own.”

Now, between his startup and Lightstep, he’s heard a lot more about open source. He was attracted to the value placed on creation and collaboration.

Evolve into cloud native

Priyanka attributes the growth of cloud-native to the fact that the middle group has accepted everything. You can see it in person at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, the largest open source event in the world. She remembers how nervous she was at her first Kube Con, she felt embarrassed, but once she walked in the doors, everyone was very welcome and inclusive.

Dan Kohn | has made CNCF one of the most successful open source foundations in the world, in large part because it was built on being an open and welcoming community. Priyanka recalls, “Dan integrated DEI into everything at CNCF from day one… He gave an example and put it into the structure.

Priyanka felt accepted in the community and began to ask for opportunities to participate. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no thanks. But he still felt he had the support of the community. He had a sense of ownership for the first time in his career.

In 2018, he joined GitLab as Director of Technical Evangelism, where he formed the Technical Thought Leadership Team. He also manages cloud native alliances. Under the impetus of his boss at GitLab, he applied to be elected to CNCF’s board of directors.

While on the CNCF board, she was encouraged by several other women on the board. He said they set the level high by emphasizing the goodness of the project at all times.

Fast forward. Today, Priyanka is the Managing Director of CNCFat the head of one of the largest and most effective open source foundations.

Looking for more insight

You can listen to Full show along with its history in Open Source Untold Stories Podcast and explore the power of the CNCF community and its impact.

Untold Stories of Open Source is a new Linux Foundation podcast to share the stories behind open source. Take the time to listen to all the episodes and let us know what you think (or if you have any story suggestions). Find the official launch at North American Open Source Summit at OpenSSF Day June 20, 2022.

There are thousands of amazing open source stories to share and we can’t wait to bring you more. If you like what you hear, we encourage you to add the series to your playlist.

For those looking for more open source stories from the Linux Foundation and the communities we serve, you can start with some of the other storytelling pioneers, including: open-source stories, , FinOps Pod, I am a Mainframer, at The change log. As we delve deeper into our origins in the field of podcasting, we will feature more news on an open source podcast network.

Do you still have much time? Feedspot recently covered another 40 free podcasts worth listening to on your morning walk or commute.

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