Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Talking about Django’s history and future on Django Chat

I was on the Django Chat podcast to talk about Django’s history, the creation of the DSF, my recent return to the DSF board and my goals there, and the things I’m excited about for Django going forward.

Listen here, or search for “Django Chat” wherever you get your podcasts:

Taking a cue from Simon, I pulled out a few of my favorite bits from the episode. These quotes are lightly edited for clarity and remove some of my verbal tics.

I used the same technique Simon uses to find these, knitting together MacWhisper for transcription and Claude for extraction.

On challenges facing the Django community (00:31:52)

We’re at an interesting inflection point. One of the reasons I wanted to come on the podcast is because we’re at this point where [Django’s development has] slowed somewhat.

A lot of long time people who have been involved are stepping back, being being less involved. And there’s a lot of excitement in the community — DjangoCon us this year had so many new faces — and so much energy […].

I think the challenge facing Django’s leadership right now is: how do we get that new blood into the community? Because with that new blood are going to come the types of things that are going to move the technology forward. The technology always follows the people.


We’re at at a moment where there’s a lot of opportunity but also uncertainty and a bit of a leadership vacuum.

My strengths as a leader, and why I wanted to return to the DSF board (00:33:16)

My experience of leadership over the last 20 years is that every time I step back an give power to someone else, It’s a net positive.

What this says to me is that I’m a better coach, sponsor, or mentor than I am as a sort of directive-style leader.

This realization has helped me be a lot more effective over the last few years, and is one of the reasons why I felt ready to return to a leadership role on the [DSF] board. I understand my own leadership style, and my own leadership successes.

Consensus doesn’t mean “everyone agrees” (00:36:25)

My understanding of consensus has changed a lot over the last decade or so […]

I think most people have this naive idea of consensus meaning “everyone agrees”. That’s not what consensus means, as practiced by organizations that truly have a mature and well developed consensus driven process.

Consensus is not “everyone agrees”, but [a model where] people are more aligned with the process than they are with any particular outcome, and they’ve all agreed on how decisions will be made.

The goal is to make a decision that makes everyone that makes everyone happy or at least content.

When there are situations where not everyone agrees, you’ve laid the groundwork ahead of time such that everyone is more invested in community health than they are in getting their own way.

My goals for the DSF board (00:42:09)

This was the main this was my main motivation for returning to the board.

There are two models you can put nonprofit boards into: you can have an “activist” board where the board does the work of the nonprofit. If someone needs to file taxes the treasurer fills out the tax form; If someone needs to talk to a major donor donor a board member calls that major donor and has a conversation with them.

The other model is a “directive” board: the board sets high level goals, the board allocates money, the board makes large strategic decisions. But most of the work is actually delegated. The board delegates most of its power to individuals, to employees, to working groups, etc.

This is not a consensus opinion of all nonprofit people, but my opinion is that the directive board is more effective and a better model for a stable ,functional, effective nonprofit organization.


The board’s pretty aligned on this. […] All of us have have this same idea the DSF will be more effective – Django itself will be more healthy – if the board can transition to a community driven, and more broader base of people working on DSF stuff.

Why I’m so excited about HTMX (00:58:15)

For close to 20 years it’s been like, “what is Django’s front end story? […] The sky is falling because you can’t do front end development in Django! Django is dead because you can’t do front end development in Django!”

[So when I saw HTMX] it was like “oh this is it! This is what the front end story for Django looks like.

It’s just it’s just so easy, and it fits with Django’s philosophy. It’s not a silver bullet: if you’re trying to build something like Figma, an actual “app-y” app that runs in the browser, I can’t imagine doing that with HTMX, that seems that seems ridiculous. But for the vast majority of what people are building with Django — which is still database driven CRUD apps […] — HTMX really just feels like the missing piece.

[…] It’s just easy and it just fits with it fits with Django’s philosophy in a way that feels like it was designed for for building Django apps.

That just scratches the surface; go listen to the show for more. Thanks to Carlton and Will for having me!