When a company that sponsors an open source project, there’s a pattern that crops up time and time again. Company leaders and others who don’t participate directly in the project think of the community as a separate entity. They refer to the community as “them” as if there’s no overlap. This encourages treating company and community interests as separate, which harms long-term sustainability.
Instead, folks in the company should think of the community as “us”. This doesn’t mean that everyone in the community should be treated as a company employee (although sharing what you can with the community is a great way to build trust long-term). Instead, company employees need to think of the company as another participant in the community.
Apart from the better mental framework, this shift acknowledges reality. Even with community-led governance, company can influence what’s gone in the community by participating or withdrawing participation. Since the company is a participant in the community, we might as well acknowledge it. Plus, when budgets get tight, this helps make the case for continuing to invest in the community.