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Kelsey Hightower on leadership in open source and the future of Kubernetes

In this special episode of The ReadME Podcast, dedicated to GitHub’s Maintainer Month, Kelsey Hightower joins hosts Martin Woodward and Neha Batra to discuss his philosophy on fostering thriving open source communities and the importance of empathy to a maintainer’s success.

Kelsey Hightower on leadership in open source and the future of Kubernetes
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“The future of Kubernetes, if we’re being honest, is that it has to go away. If we’re still talking about Kubernetes 20 years from now, that would be a sad moment in tech because we didn’t come up with any better ideas,” says Kelsey Hightower, Kubernetes superstar and developer advocate.

However, Kubernetes isn’t going anywhere just yet, and Kelsey outlines the unique features that keep the community moving forward. “Kubernetes has enough extension points for security, storage modules, cloud provider integrations, and so on, that there’s no need to hit the fork button. If you’ve been a maintainer, you know that the hardest thing is to add new functionality without getting sidetracked. Kubernetes’ API model, its plugin model, was a gift to all future maintainers. It relieves this group from having to figure out how to add every bell and whistle.”

In this special episode of The ReadME Podcast, dedicated to GitHub’s Maintainer Month, Kelsey joins hosts Martin Woodward and Neha Batra to discuss his philosophy on fostering thriving open source communities and the importance of empathy to a maintainer’s success. The conversation underscores the critical role of the individuals behind the open source projects we consume and celebrates their tireless efforts and the profound impact they’ve had on the tech community.

Thank you to ​​Aaron Francis, Cassidy Williams, Frances Coronel, Anthony Sottile, Peter Strömberg, and Brandon Ringe, and of course, Kelsey Hightower, for helping us to celebrate this Maintainer Month!

Kelsey Hightower—Present In this special episode, Kelsey shares his origin story, insights on the future of Kubernetes, and advice on making complicated technology easier to understand.
The open/closed equilibrium Striking a balance between openness and control in open source projects, preserving the integrity of community insights, and how humor can transform communities.
Fusing tech and progress How open source is powering nuclear fusion research, advice for fortifying your career against change, and practical tips on using GitHub.
Innovation without barriers Reframing disability and accessibility, playing Minecraft with your eyes, and what AI means for the future of accessibility.

To hear all of Kelsey’s advice, including tips on succession planning and how to identify future project leaders, tune in to this bonus episode of The ReadME Podcast. And don’t miss next month’s episode, where we’ll go beyond the code to examine what it takes to build a successful open source project. Subscribe to The ReadME Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen.

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