Open sourcing the superchain (with Optimism)

Jing WangEddy LazzarinRobert Hackett

Open source software powers much technology today, from web servers to phones. But what does it take to get an open source project going from scratch? Optimism Foundation CEO and executive director Jing Wang joins a16z crypto CTO Eddy Lazzarin and editor Robert Hackett to talk about the peculiarities of open source stewardship, from thinking through contributor incentives and business models to establishing a foundation and planning roadmaps — including Optimism’s own vision for a blockchain-scaling “superchain.”

Welcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next era of the internet by the team at a16z crypto, that includes me, host Robert Hackett.

Today’s episode features Jing Wang, CEO and executive director of the Optimism Foundation, along with a16z crypto CTO Eddy Lazzarin. We discuss the peculiarities of open source software — including the incentives that bind contributors together, tradeoffs between the freedom to customize versus sticking to standards, and the challenges in setting up and running a foundation

We also cover the nuances of governance and accountability, the importance of vibes, the indispensability of shipping products (versus debating roadmaps), and, the vision behind the so-called “superchain”.

As head of the Optimism Foundation, Wang helps stewards the Optimism collective — a band of decentralized companies, communities, contributors, and others who are using a suite of open source software – called the OP Stack — to scale the Ethereum blockchain network. The OP Stack also powers a number of popular “layer two” rollups — including Base, which we covered in last week’s episode with its creator and lead, Coinbase’s head of protocols Jesse Pollak.

Be sure also to check out the a16z crypto YouTube channel for video podcast episodes, as well as talks from our recent startup accelerator programs CSX featuring Jing, Optimism co-founder Karl Floersch, and more.


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