Yeah it's certainly not as easy as that sentence sounds but we try to make it work. I work with my boss to determine the kinds of issues I work on in my sprint just like with other work. Sometimes it's difficult in the day to day to split time, so it's not easy to literally do 50% on both every day, but maybe it's every other day or every other week depending on what we need. In the end it averages out to 50% though. Of course personally, I do admit I have a burden that I want to work on it full time despite having this opportunity but that's something I have to deal with, whether it's trying to push for that across the team/company or something else.
We try to have an attitude across the team that open source (and also things like technical debt, bug fixes, refactoring) should be argued for just the same as features. This means that open source shouldn't be like a "reward" for making a feature or something, but that it's vital to the success of our team/product all the same. This is kind of the attitude that Jon expresses in twitter.com/jkup/status/9098870661..., where open source is a part of the DNA of our team.
We encourage open source contributions: my coworker Kai is a core-team member on ESLint. Erin, Matt, and Yuriy have all contributed a lot to the Vue ecosystem, whether giving talks or writing docs, and coming up with testing strategies and more. Mike was a jQuery team member and recently had many multiple PRs to both npm/webpack to improve everyone's build performance significantly. I think we are willing to contribute back, make patches, and get involved if we have a problem/issue instead of just waiting around or complaining about.
So yes I talk about Babel at work a lot with my colleagues (maybe they might think too much). Not everyone is always as interested in it as me but I think they still like to listen and give feedback 🙂).
Wow, that's awesome. Sounds like you have a really great team!
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