The Benefits of an Open Company Philosophy at Balanced posted by: Jareau Wade

Balanced, an Open Company

remear box

Balanced is most often thought of as a payments company. Internally, we think of ourselves more as purveyors of infrastructure for marketplaces, rather than just a payments API. Of course, we are both of those things, and we own it: The first thing you see on our homepage is “Balanced - Payments for Marketplaces.” One piece of our identity that’s been crystalizing more slowly; however, is Balanced as an ‘Open Company.’

Chad Whitacre of Gittip first put us onto the open company model over a year ago, and it initially terrified us. We slowly embraced the openness as Gittip and Balanced began working more closely together. Today, we’re pretty much all in, except for sharing data that would reveal confidential information about our customers. Our CEO, Matin, tried to articulate what the philosophy meant for us back in April via a guest post on Fast Company Labs, but it’s kind of taken on a life of it’s own since then, which is kind of the point, right? In August, GitHub profiled Balanced’s open company approach in their OctoTales video series, and just this week The Changelog interviewed one of our engineers, Marshall, about how we keep up on all of our open source projects.

The Curious Case of Remear

The attention from serious engineering organizations and publications has been very exciting, but the most humbling and important result of becoming an open company has been the incredible people it’s brought us into contact with. Yesterday, a community member turned Balanced engineer, Ben aka Remear, shared his story about finding Balanced for a ‘free-time’ product, contributing to our projects by manning the IRC room and building mobile SDKs, and eventually ending up as Balanced’s only remote employee. I think it’s a really special story that only could have happened for Balanced as an open company. Read Ben’s story here: I asked for a t-shirt, I got a job.

A love letter to the Balanced community

The Balanced community is full of extremely talented people, just like Ben, that spend their precious time working on our projects – I’m still shocked every time I see a PR from a non-Balanced employee. Thank you all so much! On the Balanced Dashboard, for example, there have been 28 merged pull requests, 276 commits, and 293 files changed over the past month by 8 developers, only two of whom Balanced actually pays. Being an open company involves more than just open sourcing code for Balanced (of course we do tons of that too). It involves respecting our community by answering tough questions in public and recognizing that we’re lucky to have so much support. The same community that makes Balanced better with their contributions and time deserves straight answers and recognition – openness works both ways. We’re incredibly grateful for all of the time and energy you share with us. We hope we can pay it forward.

-@jkwade

Learn more about Balanced’s ‘Open Company’ philosophy.

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