My hypothesis: rather than individual sponsorships being a path to company sponsorships, the motivations of individuals are different from companies, and therefore should be treated as two separate use cases, and two separate products.
On GitHub Sponsors not being Patreon for open source:
But Twitch streamers and, similarly I think, GitHub open source developers, benefit from an additional set of motivations, which is, “I want to watch and learn from you” . A graphic artist or a blogger who’s funded on Patreon doesn’t quite have that same relationship to their audience. In those cases, I think their output – the artifacts they create – takes center stage.
The person to person, social network of GitHub?
If GitHub were to double down on a user-to-user strategy, what are the product implications? What social signals would need to be in place for this approach to succeed? What sorts of rewards or benefits would individual sponsors expect, and how would that differ from benefits for corporate sponsors?
Outside of GitHub, this same question of individuals supporting code projects is a direction to explore.