Episode 25: Maintaining OpenFaaS with CNCF Ambassador Alex Ellis


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Sponsored by Reblaze, creators of Curiefense


Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer


Alex Ellis

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Committing to Cloud Native Podcast! It’s the podcast by Reblaze where we talk about the confluence of Cloud Native technology and Open Source. Today, we are super excited to have as our guest Alex Ellis, who is the Founder of OpenFaaS, which is one of the most popular open source serverless projects, as well as a CNCF Ambassador. Alex takes us on his journey on how he Founded OpenFaaS. He talks about how important independence is to him, OpenFaaS, and other projects he’s worked on, and shares some influential books that he read that helped him in his journey of setting up a company. We also hear his views on how to build a sustainable open source community. Alex goes in depth about some of his other projects he created, recently being invited to join GitHub Stars program, and three eBooks he self-published that you should check out online! Go ahead and download this episode now!

[00:01:47] Alex tells us what OpenFaaS is, how adoption has gone, and how many people have used it and committed to it.

[00:04:27] Richard wonders how Alex funds the project, if there’s a business model, and if it’s big enough to have people afford to work on it.

[00:07:31] Justin brings up a keynote that Kelsey Hightower did on the benefits of Amazon’s Lambda at KubeCon and wonders if that or just other presentations in the community have an effect on OpenFaaS to become a project of its size now.

[00:11:06] How do people react to using OpenFaaS in their organization since it’s not in the CNCF as an incubation project?

[00:12:52] Alex talks about independence and how important it is to him, OpenFaaS, and all the other projects he’s worked on. He also talks about a few good books he read that helped him with his journey in setting up a company such as, Million Dollar Consulting.

[00:17:22] We learn from Alex his views on how to build a sustainable open source community and another great book he learned from called, The Right It by Alberto Savoia, who is the Head of Innovation at Google.

[00:22:42] Alex is known for creating other projects which seems to go against the idea of doing something small and seeing if it works, so we find out why he likes to create other projects.

[00:27:51] Alex tells us about being very active on Twitter, he talks about Daniel Vassallo who created a course on how to create a Twitter following, and about writing his blog posts.

[00:31:38] Alex got something from GitHub twenty-three hours ago. Find out what he got and why.

[00:36:47] What is GrowLab?

[00:39:07] Find out where you can follow Alex online and three eBooks he self-published.


[00:04:46] “Yeah, I mean it isn’t big enough to have people afford to work on it. That’s probably the biggest lie of open source is, the bigger something is that the more money is rolling into it.”

[00:05:00] “Even community contributions, as lovely as they are, there aren’t people with full-time jobs who said on their CV that says ‘Full-Time OpenFaas Contributor.’ That just isn’t the case with something like this.”

[00:05:42] “It basically says something like open source isn’t about you.”

[00:06:52] “In marketing framework, you’ll read is that a sustainable business has value exchange or value capture that is equal between all three parties: the consumers of it, the company or the creator behind it, and the community of partners, contributors, and sort of third parties.”

[00:08:28] “I actually think that managed Cloud functions are a really smart idea. They’re great to use. The cost cannot be beat in any way.”

[00:10:35] “What you don’t want to create, something I’ve really learned, is a commodity. And further than that, you don’t want to create something where there’s no capability for you to capture value from it.”

[00:13:00] “I mean, for me, what I mean by independence is not being employed by any one company.”

[00:14:17] “I had created some insights in the industry and the only way I could get the job that I wanted was by creating it myself.”

[00:25:22] “Well, some of the earliest clients I was working with, their audience wasn’t really at the stage where they were ready for full on Kubernetes, but K3s was nascent, it was stirring a lot of hearts, and people really like the idea of simplicity.”

[00:30:41] “And what I learned in the industry was you really want to focus on the impact that you’ve had rather than on the detail.”


Alex Ellis Twitter

Alex Ellis Linkedin

Alex Ellis Website


Open Source is Not About You-GitHub Gist


Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice by Alan Weiss

The Right It: Why So Many Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Succeed by Alberto Savoia

Everyone Can Build A Twitter Audience Course by Daniel Vassallo

Daniel Vassallo Twitter

Serverless For Everyone Else by Alex Ellis

Netbooting Workshop for Raspberry Pi with K3s by Alex Ellis

Everyday Golang by Alex Ellis



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Special Guest: Alex Ellis.

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