Becoming a bitcoin (core) PM

Becoming a bitcoin (core) PM
Open source project Bitcoin Core is the reference implementation of bitcoin

Bitcoin Core is open source software with hundreds of contributors. In addition to developers, is there a need for PM contributors? If so, what would those contributions look like?

That was the subject of a Twitter space hosted by Steve Lee and Mike Schmdit on Thursday, April 6, 2023.

  • Steve Lee - leads spiral team at Block, spent 2 years on journey to become a PM for bitcoin core,
  • Mike Schmidt - web dev background, product at blockstream, optech /open source bitcoin core side of things, taproot review sessions, activation outreach to miners and mining pools, exec director at Brink

Why Bitcoin Core?

  • Bitcoin Core is the essence of bitcoin security
  • The decentralization properties of bitcoin stem from Bitcoin Core
  • Developers thanklessly work on it
  • There are opportunities to improve the development process

Who can be a PM?

  • Special person, super persistent
  • Multi-year journey and be mentored, coached, and helped just to put yourself in a position to have a positive impact
  • Able to actually have a positive impact
  • Credibility with core engineers (you like reading Mastering Bitcoin)

How to become a PM

  • Immerse yourself in core dev culture
  • Join dev mailing lists, bitcoin optech, IRC chat, github repo
  • Start reading and learning to become able to summarize and moderate debates
  • Develop a sense for how risky, controversial, impactful technical changes are

Examples of contributions

  • Volunteer to organize core dev meetups, all over the world, every six months or so there is a core dev in-person meeting for 3-day event, very unstructured and unplanned other than the time and location
  • Improve funding opportunities for developers, new creative ways to fund developers, bringing positive energy to contributors who face lawsuits and other criticism
  • Development process can be frustrating, getting pr's reviewed and merged, requires significant review especially technically complicated / risky / controversial ones
  • Be a reflection of all of bitcoin, educate people outside of bitcoin core about how bitcoin actually works
  • Make it less mentally taxing and take less time to make positive changes to bitcoin
  • Pair up with one or more developers to help them sell their changes, to market them, a number of developers who do not want to think about activation, decoupling developers from activation pain
  • Spot really good technical changes, and help them communicate the value of the changes, communicate how risks are addressed with those changes, and then motivate the community to reach consensus that yes, this is a good change
  • Build relationships with developers and earn their respect, summarize all the viewpoints and lead to consensus

Interested PMs are encouraged to join the Bitcoin Product Community to ask questions and receive support.